On Facebook

(I recently came across this post I wrote a couple of years ago.  I’ve been thinking about similar themes again lately, so it seemed fitting to re-post it!  Enjoy or skip…it’s your call!)
 
I put the question to my own personal ‘Facebook Nation’ some days ago as to whether or not I should “ditch” my facebook account.  I gave no reasons as to why I was considering such an action.  I simply posed the question and said I was open to hearing reasons ‘for’ and ‘against’ for a specified amount of time.
 
Since I gave no reason, I was fairly surprised that many of my “friends” (at least many of those who responded to my initial post) jumped to the conclusion that I was spending too much time on facebook, and therefore needed to re-prioritize my life.  I suppose it was assumed that I was somehow wasting countless hours poring over every minute detail of my news feed.
 
The other assumption people quickly made (an assumption I won’t address here) was that I must be somehow dissatisfied with my facebook experience.  Otherwise why would I consider leaving?
 
Both assumptions bear further inspection, but not in this post.  (OK…one quick thought about satisfaction–I fear it illustrates how we’ve devolved from a society that questions participation just for the sake of participation into a society where participation is not only accepted, but actually expected for no other reason that ‘everybody’s doing it’!  Maybe that’s fodder for another post).
The truth of the matter is, my momentary stint of facebook rebellion has less to do with time or satisfaction than it has to do with…(drumroll please)…(wait for it…wait for it…) meaning.
 
We often talk about searching for meaning, or finding meaning.
 
I’m beginning to realize, though, that honestly my search for meaning died a tragic death on a busy street in Peru about 13 years ago.  I was rushing to catch a bus and almost tripped over the most destitute homeless woman I had ever seen.  The street was crowded and I didn’t even see her until I almost tripped over her.
 
My search for meaning did trip over that woman.  It broke its neck and died.
 
I mourned the loss of my search for awhile–but then I started to learn that sometimes meaning can be found–but more often meaning is built, or created from whatever resources we have available.
 
So began my quest–my quest to create meaning.
 
I never would have named it like that–not until just writing those words just now–but I think that’s right.
 
So I went to camp for a summer.  Then I went to college.  Then I worked for awhile and married someone.  And all along the way, in each new chapter I was blessed with friends, family, strangers and work.  Each helped me create meaning from whatever building blocks we had.
 
Life is much more real this way.  It’s much more satisfying to see meaning take shape both because of and in spite of my best efforts, rather than simply ‘seeking’ or ‘finding’ this elusive beast.
 
So I’m in this season of life, where my eyes have been opened to the acres of meaning hiding behind every set of eyes, in every voice, on every hill.
 
Now and then that meaning trickles through the internet, but far too seldom can I really find it on facebook.
 
So that’s in a nutshell my reasoning for raising the question.
 
See, it’s like we’re in this world together, weaving a tapestry of meaning with our lives.  Our actions, our words, our thoughts…our pain, our joy, our celebrations and our mourning–all of it weaves together into this fabric of meaning.
 
But facebook is kind of like a cat.  It sees this grand tapestry, it even participates in the weaving to an extent.  But rather than letting it be, it plays with the fringes.  Anything on this fabric that moves is fair game.  It bats at meaning with its too-eager paws and picks at the loose threads until they come unraveled from the fabric around them.
 
Left to itself, this cat will shred the artwork until there’s nothing left but a pile of rags.
 
And I find myself, instead of weaving or building or otherwise creating–I find myself watching this stupid cat that for some reason I’m fond of–often cursing it for doing what it was intended to do.
 
So from time to time I think it’s good to question, to re-examine my participation in this thing called ‘facebook’.
 
Time is not the issue.
 
Satisfaction is not the issue.
 
Meaning and the fragmentation of the whole–that’s the issue and that’s what’s at stake.
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