I haven't written much of substance on my blog lately, mostly because we've been going at mach speed round here since November, but also because everybody is so dang cranky all the time about all the things. Have mercy it is ex.haus.ting. Does anybody have the patience or stamina or time in their day for all the endless whining and complaining and judgy judgmental judgment we're living with right now?
The online world that once upon a time connected us in so many fun and positive ways feels downright ugly. The real world feels that way too and it breaks my heart a little. A lot if I'm being honest. I don't want to dip so much as my pinky toe into the sea of nastiness that's out there right now and I honestly don't know how to navigate social media anymore. If the Internet were my child I would send her to her room.
I was talking with friends recently (in person and face to face which is how ideas are best shared), and we all agreed you can't go to even the simplest of social gatherings anymore without considering what you're walking in to. Will anyone be there who doesn't demand you explain and defend your position on a whole laundry list of sizzling hot topics that you'd rather not get into with casual acquaintances? Can't we just talk about what's in the delicious chicken salad or some other equally inoffensive subject matter?
I don't want my blog to be a place of controversy and I work hard to keep it a welcoming little corner of the Internet. It's just that anymore it's hard to know what in the world is going to set people off. And by set people off I mean what is going to cause someone to insult my intelligence, my thinking, my education, my part of the country, my belief system and more.
Recently I replied to a comment on Twitter and a woman who doesn't know me, who knows nothing about me, called me a liar. She also identified herself in her profile as a 'Christ follower'. Okay. Somehow that didn't feel very Christ-like to me. I let it go with a polite 'we disagree', because she doesn't know me and I don't know her and we're not going to know one another communicating 140 characters at a time.
Sometimes it's hard to breathe.
I think our parents generation got it right in their efforts not to bring politics into polite conversation. And Facebook? Facebook is just a mess, and because in real life I do have people I love and who are dear to me on all ends of the political spectrum, well it's a mess. It's not a place I want to be anymore.
I want to extend birthday wishes, learn about your travels, see your babies and your grandchildren, find out about great places to dine or hike or vacation, discover new music, hear about random acts of kindness encountered throughout your day, but that's such a small part of my news feed now it's almost not worth checking in.
So how do we blog when the air is thick with smoke and opinion? When voices thunder in ways that make you want to pull the covers over you head? How do we breathe?
For me I go back to what is true. I spend less time reading Internet words and more time reading God's word. I pray for our nation and her leaders and a world gone mad, and when I want to make a point, let my feelings be known, fire off a response to an unkind word or misstatement of fact, I take a step back and I breathe.
I think our natural desire to be right, to be heard, to make our opinion known says go-hit send-now-immediately.
I'm learning to fight my natural instinct.
I'm learning to let my words sit on the page overnight and see if they look and feel the same in the bright light of a new day. I ask myself does this need to be said and most importantly, do I need to be the one to say it? We all think we need to be the one to say 'it' but really do we? Does everything need to be said?
My girls called yesterday. We talked about grandbabies, pregnancy, smocked rompers, car troubles and sick puppies that strain our nerves and our bank accounts, the triumphs and challenges facing a kindergarten teacher, and how God knows about all the things. All of them. Every last bit of our everything. He is the air I breathe.
When I remember that breathing is easy.