Recently I de-activated my Facebook account and I have generally adopted a rather less visible presence socially, at church and within my local community. I haven’t been able to face interacting with people unless I can be absolutely honest with them about how life really is, and of course those people are few and far between.
I was struck however, by an unexpected benefit that has come from this. Through the use of social media we spread ourselves so thinly. We share our children’s landmarks, our funny ripostes, and our daily grind with many people. We fall into the trap of judging the worth of an event by the number of likes or comments it receives. We start to think of our lives in classifications relating to whether an occurrence will make a good status update or not.
I didn’t like it when I found myself doing that, and I haven’t really missed Facebook at all.
Until last night. I was sitting in my garden in the dark with my husband and a friend and we were watching our children and their friends play British bulldog and ‘stick in the mud’ in the dark. We had candles on our table, our coats and scarves on, the debris of a birthday tea in the kitchen and I felt really content. At that moment I wished I could post on Facebook and share that moment – just to let my friends share it too.
Today as I reflected on the happiness of the evening, I realised that by not sharing on Facebook I had not diluted that moment. I had kept it close, and in doing so the intensity of meaning held in that instant was shared more deeply with just a few who are present constantly in my life. Rather than looking for the affirmation of my experience from some people who I never see or who don’t really know me so well although our paths cross occasionally, I have kept it for those closest.
You may be thinking that I’ve blown it by writing about it here, but I don’t think that I have. Mostly because we haven’t met, and it’s a day later, and the moment has passed.
I had seen my removal from Facebook as a negative action that circumstances had pushed me into, almost against my will, but now I can see that holding things close is a great treasure.