I am not considered old, but neither am I all that young. I have 5.5 grandchildren. My youngest child is almost 20 years old. And when I chose to join the “twitter sphere” I think I shocked even myself. I figured out how to actually use it. And even funnier, I like it. You get the info you need in far fewer words. Sort of funny, considering I am a rather wordy person. (So yeah, I love to gab…lol).
And the downside of living life via twitter, or Facebook, or “cliff notes,” is that you miss the entire story. At least on twitter, when you click on something, there is a link to the whole story. But how many people even want to know the entire story? I love the “sound bite” simplicity, but I certainly do not base decision making or opinion forming on just 140 characters – which is the maximum allowed in a “tweet.” But how many of us do rely on second-hand information, or just a short explanation to base lifelong choices on?
When I try to discuss my faith with people, I can drive them crazy. Why? Well, the joke is that converts are like former smokers – annoying in their exuberance and knowledge. Ha-Ha. And I have gone through many iterations of faith until I found a place where I felt comfortable, secure, and certain. So when I dive into that conversation, I have tons of information to share; information obtained in literally decades of searching. And it can be daunting to someone not expecting that. Like the term, “verbal vomit.” We learned that in a marketing course I took. The rule is to not overwhelm someone new. Just give them enough to go on, enough to make a decision on, and the entire picture will become clear as they move forward. (Hopefully purchasing what you are selling). Sharing with people about any subject requires the person with more information to not overwhelm those he is sharing that information with. And this applies to every, single, walk in our lives. Seriously. Just think about it for a moment.
And this year is an active year in many arenas in my life. We are expecting a new grandchild and that gushy, exciting, joy in new life fills our days. We cannot wait to meet him or her! We have the continued progression of my parents’ walk through dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We have that last child working his way into the world and maturity. We are working in our new yard, trying to encourage growth and seeing little bits of flower buds and things blooming. It is pretty exciting. We are also active in some political campaigns here in our own state. And that is fascinating. Then there is our country and all that is happening. Misinformation can be found in every subject of my life I mentioned above. Every, single, one.
So how do we combat misinformation, fake news if you will, in our lives? Or perhaps the lack of the full story? That is the million dollar question, isn’t it? Jumping to conclusions with very little fact to back it up is a common problem with humanity. And in this day and age of hyper-electronic media influence, emotions are riding high.
One of my theories is that all this social media and tweeting and whatnot is allowing us the advantage of not having to face the people we tweet or twitter or whatever about. We are several steps removed from the object of our comment. I was recently speaking to some people, face-to-face, and we were lamenting the fact that people are forgetting how to have civil conversations. In the “me”-centered culture in which we live, people feel entitled to have smooth sailing in all things. When someone upsets their apple cart, they react so inappropriately and over-the-top. There was a report of a girl’s softball game that had to be called because the parents were going nuts in the stands. They showed video of parents jumping off bleachers, attacking one another. Over a girl’s softball game. The emotions were far beyond a game. Far beyond.
I have been learning so much about narcissists and how it has affected my life. And now that I am learning the definitions of it, the actions of narcissists, and how it has affected my life, I am starting to see it everywhere. Perhaps giving our kids trophies for signing up to play a sport is having repercussions we did not expect. Instead of boosting their self-esteem, we have created a generation of kids with over-the-top expectations of what life truly is like. Once it does not go their way, they react in ridiculous ways.
There is a particular young man who is in the news, and his entire story makes me crazy. Each time I see him on the news or in another article, I want to grab him, put him in a time out, and re-educate the boy. He is so self-important and so disconnected to real life, that I pity him. His adult life will be fraught with discord and disappointment. Because life is not meant to be 100% your way.
It seems like no one likes to stop and listen, to contemplate, or actually learn, before launching into a response or action. The media today is full of sound bites. Like tweets in all aspect of life. People do not pursue the subject through all its iterations, back to its beginning. Considering the electronics in our lives were supposed to make our lives easier, to me, it seems like it is far more complicated. No one has patience for much of anything. And I am starting to love the idea of disconnecting from social media, from dropping out of the rat race, and just enjoying my surroundings and the people I come into contact with. My only hesitation is that I would lose contact with so many friends, because we live in a place that is pretty isolated. But, on the other hand, maybe that is okay. People who are true friends will always remain that, regardless of our proximity. Partially because we got to know one another prior to this age of instant everything. We took the time to learn about each other, spend time in one another’s company, and become familiar with them. Now, it’s friending or unfriending for the least thing. It’s adding to or deleting from your friend’s list. It is sharing soundbites without communicating. It is skipping truth for expediency. It is reading only tweets and no longer engaging in the process of reading novels. We have become quick-tempered and shallow people. And it makes me sad.
I have no expertise; I don’t have answers. But I do observe and contemplate. And I come to some conclusions, for me. I am trying to speak less and listen more; to help when needed; to remain aloof when needed; and to be present when asked, but to be unseen when not. I am trying to remain connected to my quiet faith while living in a noisy and angry world. I am trying to act with dignity when vulgarity is common. I am trying to be honest in a den of thieves (Matthew 21:13). And give a Godly example in a world run rampant with self-indulgence and dishonesty.
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘A man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10: 33-39
Peace. Quiet. Respect. Thoughtfulness. Contemplation. Resolve. Truth. Love for one another. Lofty goals? Yes. But they are eternal goals. And I am praying that as I follow tweets or read quick snippets of information, that I can pull myself above and out of the miasma, and remember God’s loving me so much, He died for me. For you. For those who believe in Him. Much more important than some of our misplaced anger these days. Sigh.
“Because anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”