05 April 2010
My Lenten "sacrifice"
I gave up facebook for Lent. It was a fairly easy sacrifice, though I expected it to be more difficult than it actually was. I found that I really enjoyed the silence in my life and that, when I wasn't being filled with online interactions, I actually sought out real humans friendship. Amazing how that happens... :)
One of the best side effects of giving up facebook was that I tended to not think very negatively about a lot of people. I've realized that there really is virtue in our grandmothers' teaching, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I realized as I thought about this during Lent that there are some key people in my life whom I really, greatly admire and one of the things I have always loved about these individuals is that they didn't share all of their opinions with all people. I don't know why the internet gives humans the permission to share things that normal, well-adjusted people wouldn't share in polite society, but it does. I don't need to share what I think about every subject all the time. I realized that it's a good practice to guard speech, in real life, and online, and that there are many subjects that really require relationship with others before most people are able to breech said subjects. Peggy Noonan, Eugene Peterson, and some others get a pass. Most of the rest of us should probably still our fingers when something pithy comes to mind.
During my facebook-fast, I also found that, honestly, I just didn't think about a lot of people I "saw" all the time on facebook. And what I discovered was that I didn't miss them. I don't mean that in a spiteful way. It's just that those people are not in my everyday thoughts. And I realized during Lent -- I don't think they're supposed to be. I think relationships are supposed to be at different levels of knowledge and intimacy.
So, I logged in to facebook again in the evening on Easter. I was on it for about 7 minutes. I read about some friends I hadn't thought about for 6 weeks or so. I looked at some pictures. Then I deactivated my account again. I just don't think it's a wise thing for me. And leaving it behind is not much of a sacrifice.