I think this is worth sharing. Last night I hesitantly made a comment regarding the FL tragedy. I thought carefully about it and I think it was a helpful thought. But what troubles me is how I felt about it. I had to really fight to not check back to see if people were liking my post. I worried I may have offended someone or overstepped my bounds. This morning I woke up and immediately checked to see what the response was.
Here’s what really worries me: When I saw that a bunch of people liked it and no one disagreed, I felt good and was able to move on with my day.
This says two things to me:
One- I made that post for a reason other than just to communicate with friends or to be helpful. I was looking for something for myself. If I want to be totally critical here, I used a horrible situation in FL as an opportunity to get something I needed…
Two- I put the pressure of who I am, how good I am, and what I believe on the shoulders of other people instead of where the responsibility should lie - on my own shoulders.
I think it’s not just this post and it’s not just me. This is a picture of dysfunction for many of us. The responsibility we put on each other to validate and define ourselves is unhealthy and inappropriate… and it’s lazy. It becomes a way to shirk our responsibility to figure out who we are, and instead put that responsibility on others. Facebook is a great tool for us to do this. It almost feels like it was made exactly for that purpose (look up what FB was originally designed to do).
It’s hard because when something like what happened in FL happens, we all want to do something about it. We’re completely helpless, but we have this powerful tool called Facebook where it feels like we have a platform to be heard and create change. But when everyone has the platform, no one has the platform - it just becomes noise. Worse, once we say our piece on Facebook, there’s a chemical release in our brain that says “OK, you did something about it”, and we feel like we can move on - even though nothing really changed - we just added to the noise.
Somehow this post about how bad last night’s post was became an extension of last night’s post. 😁 Oh well…
I think it’s important to accept the truth: What happened, happened. We are helpless. We may be able to change what happens moving forward, but today for the families in FL that’s of little comfort. The most productive path forward for them is grief. And I believe the most respectful response from us is to grieve with them. Not to fly into action. Not to say our piece.
The change we feel compelled to make as a response to tragedies like FL or 911 or whatever - will not start on Facebook or even on mission trips to physically help. Those things can be helpful if done from the right place. But the real change needed takes much more work and starts inside ourselves. If we want to decrease hate… if we want to oppose Fear which fuels these tragedies, we have to oppose the Fear that is driving us daily. This requires slowing down, becoming quiet internally, learning to rest, letting go. It’s difficult and painful and SLOW. It’s much easier to hop on Facebook or on a plane and “get to work” than it is to stop, and reflect, and grieve, and change. But it’s the most effective and helpful place for us to start.