Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Social Media, the good, the bad, and the extremely difficult
A few minutes ago I scrolled through the Instagram pictures of a local middle school boy who was airlifted to an Ohio burn center this weekend after a freak bonfire incident. Earlier this morning I watched a short facebook video update on a six (seven?) year old boy with leukemia. Saturday evening I spent an hour reading 3 years worth of facebook posts from a woman who passed away on Valentine's day after a short illness. The woman was the youngest person to attend our wedding to have died. In all of these cases I don't really "know" the person, but I know and love people who know and love them. I recently had a conversation about how the human psychy (not sure how to spell that) was not made for today's social media, as in it is hard to digest the amount of information we can get bombarded with. I am still a proponent of social media when used properly. For one thing I think it is a fantastic way to evangelize (Pope Francis thinks that too, I follow him on twitter). Prayer requests can be sent and in minutes people from all over the world can be praying for your intention. It's kind of like the communion of saints right here on earth. I was thinking about these three people who I've been praying for and realized a couple things. One is because I know people who know these people (friends of friends, but in the real life sense), I would know about all of these events even without social media. Not necessarily as quickly or as much, but I surely would have heard about them. I think the thing that is really hard for the mind to fathom is the fact that I can look at posts and pictures that the very people who are now in heaven or in a burn center in Ohio posted just days or weeks ago not knowing their fate. This is the kind of thing that gets me shaking as I type this and will bring tears right to the surface so at a moment's notice I might freak out crying on my family. (I did it often this weekend!) It's hard to love. The more people you love the more you open up for hurt. It's hard sometimes to know about the difficulties people have to face, but knowing about them gives you a chance to pray for them. Knowing that a sweet little girl who's had multiple brain surgeries and has been seizure free for a year means so much more when you've followed the family's difficult journey through social media and joined them and thousands of others in prayer. Social media also allowed me to see pictures of beautiful twin babies just minutes after their birth. I've never met the babies' parents, but I've prayed for them and their marriage and prayed for the little girl when there was a possibility of a health issue. if I didn't know those possible complications (the bad), I wouldn't as much appreciate the good. We are called to be a light. Sometimes that might be sharing the fact that your 18 year old son (who's had his own health issues pre-social media) got accepted into college such that 105 people can "like" it. Maybe that was the best social media news they've heard all day. Or maybe sometimes we can be a light by posting something "lite", like the fact that we laid sod in our backyard this weekend. Even amidst all the tragedy you still have to have hope, even if that hope is that maybe this time we'll get something to grow in our back yard.