I wish I had reveled in it more.
It's funny, I feel compelled to get back on Facebook, and I'm not entirely sure why. So I can aimlessly browse the 419 friends I've slowly acquired over the over 5 years that I've been on the site? So I can share Joshua with far away family? (A good reason for sure ... but my blog has been fairly sufficient and has taken less of my time.) Is it to feel more connected to friends?
Even though, what I've learned in the last 45 days is that the feeling of connection is entirely different than real connection. Just because a person posts an update to his 327 friends, and I read it doesn't mean we are necessarily connected.
How many times have I felt like I developed a good connection to someone via Facebook, only to run into them in real life and realize--ha, still awkward small talk! Still pretty much strangers! Still long death pauses where we are both probably wishing we could whip out our phones, open our FB app, and post statuses about uncomfortable social interactions.
How many times have I thought I was fairly good friends with a person, just to realize I'm out of touch with them because I missed status updates because my home feed got messed up, or clogged with all of my other friends' updates? Come to find out, I'm up to date on some peoples' lives not necessarily because they specifically want me to be an integral part of their life. No, I'm just one of the many on Facebook.
Now, is any of this inherently bad? Of course not! Facebook is a useful tool for doing just what I mentioned above--shouting thoughts to hundreds of people at once, disseminating information about one's life quickly and efficiently--with the click of a button. It connects far away family and long lost friends ... but at what cost?
When I'm on Facebook, it envelops me. I truly got jitters and felt sick when the Lord laid it on my heart to break from Facebook for Lent. I honestly thought I could not do it--it is my window to the world, the vehicle for a large percentage of my "connection" throughout the day.
But I did it.
And I realized some stuff. With Facebook and it's false sense of connection (or okay, it's unique and different form of connection that should not and never will replace true connection) I find myself lamenting my lack of friends, and swirling around in the loneliness of hours upon hours of almost purely cyber-connection.
Guess what? I have friends.
The last 45 days without my 419 FB friends taught me that.
And I'll be frank--it's not like I instead spent my "former FB time" with God. There were many days I simply--humanly--chose to fill my time differently, and still neglected my Father. So, no--Facebook is not the only enemy. There are many.
Surprisingly (for me), after the initial withdrawal period, I rarely missed it.
Oh, when I heard exciting news (usually via Erik who did not give up FB during this time) and realized I'd missed the chance to add a pithy comment on a friend's status, I was a little sad.
And there were moments the technology for uploading photo and videos on Blogger drove me nuts and almost had me running for my Facebook log in. For sure I had times where I just wanted to mindlessly zone out and "connect" with "friends".
But all in all, it took as much effort to log back into Facebook today as it did to deactivate my account 45 days ago. This was a good exercise for me--I do not need Facebook to survive. In fact, it helped me remember who my "real" friends are--my true connection, the people I do life with.
Please don't get me wrong--I love keeping up with people from all the days of my life. It's fun! But it's time consuming. And so I have committed to trimming my "Friend list" down (please do not take it personally if I removed you .... It's not you, it's me. Really!) I've committed to at least trying to use Facebook for the tool it is--and not the obsession is has become.
So, a big thank you to the season of Lent for this opportunity to realize that
I do have "flesh and blood" friends,
I do enjoy spending my time other ways,
I am less stressed with my son when I'm not trying to browse FB while he's wanting to play,
I am capable of giving something up,
and I am more than my Facebook page.