I’m not good at giving up things for Lent. I either pick something really lame or get a start late. Then I usually really push the boundaries of what I’ve given up.
Last year, I gave up drinking mochas. I love mochas. I’m emotionally dependent on mochas. Some days I live for my mocha. That was a pretty major thing for me to give up. But I let myself switch to carmel lattes. See, boundary issues…
As an adult coming to a Christian faith tradition that does the Lent “thing”, I get it. I understand that it’s not about denying yourself just because it’s something a church says you have to do. It’s about heightening your awareness, your senses. Getting out of your normal cadence to a different pace. Being present to something larger outside of you and something miraculous inside of you. Focusing on an immense hope and an overwhelming love.
This year, I started late. Nearly two weeks late. Typical… But I gave up a biggie – for me. I gave up my primary mode of social interaction. Yes, I gave up Facebook.
Oh, the humanity!
No funny “Oh Myyyyy” posts from George Takei. No clever “wine is wonderful” cartoons from Kay. No “hiking in Arizona” pictures from Sandy. No “Obamacare kills baby birds and causes locust plagues” posts from my Tea Party relatives. Well – okay – I don’t really miss those… No cute animal videos. I guess I could go to YouTube and watch some there but, seriously, it’s not that bad…yet.
When I decided to give up Facebook, I went cold turkey. Got rid of the FB tab from my Mac favorites bar and deleted the icon off of my smartphone. Poof goodbye. I haven’t signed on since.
And I’m lonely.
I’ve moved around a lot in the past 10 years. And when you move as an empty-nester, 50+ something adult, it’s harder to connect with new people in a new city. As a younger adult with kids, it’s easier to “fit in” – kids seem to be a natural way to connect with other folks. As an older adult, sans kids, it’s much harder to build relationships when people already have their circle of friends and social habits well established. Plus I can be a bit introverted around new people. I know, hard to believe right?
So Facebook has been my best buddy these last few years. It’s so easy now to stay in touch with far away friends and family. Extra bonus – it’s helped me reconnect with people I had “lost” over the years. Treasured friendships that slipped away because of the stupid neglect of youth or a “no longer at this address” written on an envelope. Double extra bonus – I’ve also nurtured new, long distance friendships that would have never happened BF (before Facebook.) We’re a very happy couple, Facebook and I.
So my late Lenten sacrifice this year is uncomfortable. This is good. Whenever I have that urge to “just take a peek” at some of those Arizona hiking pictures, I remember why I said I wouldn’t. It makes me think about my family and friends, and how much they mean to me; how much I love them. And I think about the Great Love that holds the whole world in an embrace of goodness, mercy and healing. I can wait a few more days until the 20th.
But remember how I said I have boundary issues?