Wait Silently

irr

To look for community instead of cocktail-party relationships is part of choosing sides in the vast, strange battle. To say, “I’m sorry”; to be silent; to say “I love you,” “I care.” It is these little things that are going to make the difference. For God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, the weak to overthrow the strong.

– The Irrational Season (1977) by Madeleine L’Engle

 

I’ve written about this before, I’m sure; I am writing to myself again. I long for community, real and true. I think I’m settling for cocktail-party relationships via social media. I see the words “I love you”, “I care” “praying” all over facebook, but what does it really mean? Is it so others can see you are so concerned? To do so in person is another kettle of fish all together.

 

It is not easy to say I’m sorry, especially I’m sorry without a but after it. However, it’s often too easy to say I love you  – love ya – as an alternate to see ya later. Said too easily and it looses its meaning. Saying I care may be harder; harder still to show you care in a tangible may.

 

But the hardest may be to be silent. Silent when you want to scream or cry or yell or explain or accuse or complain.

 

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. – Psalm 62:5

 

Help me, LORD, to be silent. To show love and care.  To pray.

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Social Media and Letters and Such #2

 

I’ll try to make sense of this  conglomeration of thoughts derived from numerous sources, all focused on  a common issue in my mind: the modern society’s pitfalls of social media and the like.

Fahrenheit 451 was published by Ray Bradbury before I was even born. I am amazed at the insight he had!

“And most of the time in the caves they have the joke boxes on and the same jokes most of the time,…” -Clarisse – from Fahrenheit 451

In my cave there are the joke boxes of television, Facebook, and Twitter. With the same jokes and political garbage most the time.

“There was a tiny dance of melody in the air, her Seashell tamped in her ear again, and she was listening to far people in far places.” Fahrenheit 451

Can you say bluetooth?!? He really hit this one spot on. It drives me crazy to be in the store and think someone is speaking to me and then realize they are talking to far people in far places.

“…people have developed less a sense of community than a loneliness which they attempt to assuage by being with other people constantly, and on a superficial level only.”  –  The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle .

That’s me. I’m with people superficially online, attempting to assuage my loneliness. Often all it does is exacerbate the situation.

“We have an innate pessimism about telephone calls; they have a habit of coming at the wrong time, and they are too sudden, catapulting you into a conversation you weren’t expecting. Letters, on the other hand, are a pleasure to receive, not least because they allow you to consider your reply. But people don’t write letters anymore.” – from A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

I must say that phone calls and letters are a step up from social media. At least with a phone call you can sometimes pick up on moods and intentions by a person’s voice. And with letters, you must put forth a little more effort and (hopefully) you take the time to craft your words more carefully.

And so, I leave you with this poem I wrote last year .

 

Left Unsaid  (April, 2016)

So many tweets were left unsaid

Brilliant words were never read

Chatty texts were never sent

Nothing told that wasn’t meant

I forgot my phone at home

No charming comments or replies

No clever words that sound so wise

No rings and beeps and  no voicemail

If someone called I could not tell

I forgot my phone at home

Surprisingly I did survive

In fact I may have even thrived

Lifting eyes up from the screen

With the world I reconvened

I forgot my phone at home

Social Media and Letters and Such #1

crosswick

We may be a global village, but instant communication often isolates us from each other rather than uniting us.  –  from The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle

This profound statement was written in 1977! Now, nearly 40 years later, it is even more true. I have read several articles lately about the detriments of social media, and they are many. Thinking about some of what I’ve read, I ‘d like to break down what L’Engle had to say.

She refers to a global village, which is an oxymoron. A village brings to mind a community of people who are physically close as well as socially. People who know the needs of their neighbors and share many common bonds. Global pertains to the whole world, where, though we may know some of the needs and share interests, we can’t fully enter into the daily groove.  

Little did L’Engle know in 1977 how instant communication would become. How often have we (me included) spouted off on facebook, only to have to go back later and delete, though not always before the words have seared the eyes and hearts of a loved one. Or sent an email that couldn’t be deleted? At least when writing a letter, we have a little more time; time to tear it up before we lick that stamp.  

But, one may wonder, how does instant communication isolate us? It is a weapon, I think, driving us apart by comparison. All the happy vacation pictures, relationship updates, and check-ins. It’s just fuel for the fire of  “I want what they have”, and when we don’t have those things we distance ourselves.  At least that’s my take on it.

You can read other posts inspired by Madeleine L’Engle HERE

Psalm 12

muck

The worldview of the wicked still seems to carry the day… Yahweh preserves us, and yet crud rules the day. We don’t particularly like paradoxes, though the Christian life is full of them.

From The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life by Dale Ralph Davis

Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks proud things,
Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own; Who is lord over us?”
Psalm 12:1-4 –

There is quite a lot to think about here. When I read the following portion, I immediately thought of social media: ”They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.” The thing is, I can’t just say “they”. It’s me, too, speaking idly. Speaking of things with little value. Wasting time.
And then there’s the flattering lips thing. Today that’s just a ‘like’ here and a ‘thumbs up’ there and a ‘beautiful inside and out’ everywhere. Facebook and Instagram are full of flattering lips. Except for the kissing/duck lips. Those are not flattering.
I am so guilty of “the tongue that speaks proud things…”. I fill my instagram with happy moments; I check-in on facebook so people will see I’m busy, not just sitting in front of the TV; I take pictures to say, “See? I have beautiful grandkids! I’m having fun! I am so witty!”
These few verses are packed with admonitions. Application is the key here. It would be so easy to just see that the wicked – the them of the world – are being addressed. And, yes, it does say the godly man ceases. But, there is always a message for us as Christians. When it seems as if they – the world- have won, remember Who is on our side, remember Who is Lord over us.

Pinterest Worthy? Huh?

This post is for me, but maybe it’s for you, too. In reading a recent blog, I came across some interesting statements.

“Make your home Pinterest worthy”

Is that a thing? Are we now striving to make our homes worthy of Pinterest? I mean, I really enjoy Pinterest. I’ve found lots of cool stuff there, and I use it to keep things organized, like books I want to read and recipes I want to try. But, the ideas I find and/or use from Pinterest are to help me, not so that I can feel like I’m worthy if I use them.

“Who doesn’t want their life to look like a Pinterest board?”

Me. Sure, I’m excited that the kitchen cabinets I painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint turned out well. So did the Superhero Tootsie Pops for my grandson’s birthday. But, it’s not my goal to spend all my time trying to have a perfect house. Even so, I HAVE succumbed to the lure of the before-and-after pictures and the DIY projects. I have gone to Pinterest to just browse for five minutes and found myself surfacing an hour later, with new pins and a house full of dusty furniture.

“Curate your coffee table”

This one was actually funny. I dream of flowers and artfully placed books, but I end up with neatly stacked magazines on a good day.

A few days after I read the above quotes, my daughter-in-law posted something on facebook that I think ties in well here. She quoted the following from an article on HuffPost.

“despite the parenting books, the blogs, the Facebook groups, the Twitter hashtags, the Pinterest boards pumping us full of so much rhetoric and infinite guilt our instincts and sensibilities have vanished into thin air — the singular act of raising a child hasn’t changed all that much over the years. It’s still so damn hard. And like the generations of parents that came before us, we’re all making it up as we go along.”

When I was a young mother, I didn’t have the pressure of social media. There was no facebook for me to live up to by posting numerous pictures of my happy little family. There was no twitter to tell everyone how cool I was. There was no Pinterest to make me feel as I should be working on home projects and throwing elaborate birthday parties.

I’m grateful to see that some of this is dawning on my sweet daughter-in-law. Now it’s time for me to face the music. As an empty nester, I find myself unwisely wasting time on the internet, and comparing my home, my family, even my book reading, to people I hardly even know, or don’t know at all. It’s time to harness it all in; to use the good parts as a tool for good and to be wiser in the use of all the time wasters I’ve fallen prey to.

If this helps or causes anyone to stop and think, I’ll be pleased and grateful.