Monday, November 14, 2011

Counting blessings

I'm trying hard to focus my thoughts on positive things recently. I know my last post (the pre-picture post) was a bit of a downer, with talking about bullying and all, and I just wanted to reassure everyone. Since that last post - and Mike's announcement on Facebook of my departure - I've gotten a few really nice emails about my decision. I appreciate everyone's kind words and expressed concern more than I could ever put into words. Please know that I am extremely grateful for your love and friendship!

For anyone who maybe was unsure of how to ask, I thought I'd clear up a few things:

- The bullying that I spoke of on my Facebook blog post was not directed at me. While I have felt ridiculed, even persecuted, in the past...that was not what finally pushed me over the edge. I appreciate your concerned notes. No one here said anything to me that hurt my feelings or anything like that - I have a pretty thick skin, believe it or not! I fully expect to receive some not so nice notes or comments when speaking out about my Catholic faith : it's kind of a packaged deal. (Matthew 5:3-11)

- "So, if the bullying was not directed at you, what's the problem?" you might be thinking now. The truth is that I have a bit of an obsessive nature. I think. A lot. The problem came in with my ability to disconnect from Facebook and its conversations. Even when trying my hand at apologetics (which I thoroughly enjoyed, mind you), there was a negative consequence: I couldn't let things go, mentally and emotionally. Recently, it seemed to be consuming me even more frequently, as more and more posts came up that were political or religious in nature. Maybe I was just noticing them more, or maybe they really were increasing in number....whatever it was, I was having a harder and harder time walking away from it, both physically and mentally. I was obsessing over each conversation, thinking about it, researching more points, and trying to wade through the emotions that came with every post. These conversations were truly consuming hours of my day, when that time should have been spent nurturing the relationships at home with my husband and children.

In the end, it all came down to a priority shift: I needed to make my family a higher priority than my time spent on Facebook (both screen time and time spent thinking about it). Maybe I will go back someday...maybe I won't. I've been amazed at the responses that I've gotten - it seems that maybe we all are hungry for a deeper connection than we have been getting through Facebook. That superficial "always in touch" relationship maybe isn't what we should be nurturing. Instead of 527 friends....maybe we should be focusing on those closest to us and getting to really know them. For now, that is what I will be focusing on.

As the past couple of days have passed by, I've noticed just how strong of an addiction Facebook has become for our world. Even Mike, who hardly ever logged in, is having a hard time comprehending just how we will communicate (not me and him....but our family and other families) without this form of social media. It seems that we have become so immersed in this online community that we cannot even begin to fathom moving outside of it. It's slightly fascinating to me - and I'm sure I'll blog about it again. The mental worry about staying in touch, the seemingly physical withdrawal symptoms that occur when I sit down at the computer, the inability (it seems) to take a picture without mentally composing a funny caption at the same time, and what seems to be an incredibly strong habit of constantly creating a "funny, yet intriguing" status update whenever I do something throughout the day, just all adds up to show me that Facebook, for better or worse, has completely changed our everyday lives. I knew that I was logged in quite a bit.....but I didn't realize just how much it had taken over my life until this past weekend.

Even as we adjust to my new, Facebook-less life, I'm reminded that it truly is through the every day, simple things that God shows Himself to us. I'm counting these simple blessings in my life: It's the laughter at the park as brothers chase each other around the sandbox. It's the giggles at the dinner table when the oldest child is a bit too sleepy and can't control his silliness, it's watching a big brother help a younger brother learn to read, it's the smile on the 5 year old's face as he learns to ride a bike with no training wheels......

....and it's walking downstairs after a successful morning of homeschooling the two oldest boys and seeing this waiting for me in the kitchen:

Daddy and son Playdoh time

I truly am blessed.

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