The gist of the post was that the member wanted to ask their American family member what they thought of gun laws in the USA because they were tired of hearing about gun massacres as Americans were, in short, too stupid to give up their guns.
Friends of family members, yes. I’ve had a family members friend taunt me around a park during a party once, pouring out racial slur after racial slur & then belly laugh about how stupid I was to not even know he was insulting me. I’ve had another family member’s friend boldly declare on Facebook how they hate Americans, but never, until that moment, had a family member ever said it.
There was, suddenly, this little hole inside me that was quickly opening into a chasm, and in that solitary moment, alone in the bathroom combing out my hair. I cried. I cried like a big baby. I cried for all the years I’d lived in this beautiful country & stared at a sky where I didn’t recognised a single constellation, & yearned for the ones that could point me home. For all the missed Thanksgiving, for the lack of camaraderie and patriotism on Independence Day, for the missing fireworks that boom around the mountains & echo down into the low valleys, & I cried for all the blistering hot summers I’d endured with mozzie welts all over me. I cried for the traditions my kids missed out on, & I cried because I hurt.
In that moment I realised just how desperately homesick I was. Something I don’t talk about. Sure, I pang for certain things, & I miss people. Who doesn’t? But you learn to assimilate into the community around you, & you learn to enjoy the unique beauty many other people only read about in books. I often get homesick around Thanksgiving because there is no comparison to it here, & during that time I distance myself from things that make it worse, but in general I don’t talk about homesickness.
I’m not talking about leaving this country right now, but walking away from Facebook. The longer I stayed, the more horrors I watched unfold. Australian businesses mocking Americans in an attempt to make a sale. Groups on FB, that family members are likely unaware that each time they clicked on a post I could see it, which spoke of evil the meme creator wanted to cause on all Americans.
Rifts between friends & families over the copious amounts of false news floating around. People convinced you hate them because you didn’t respond to their every post, & lots & lots of bitter resentment oozing from everyone. Hostility at every turn, because people never seem to know if one is joking or not.
The more I was able to see the ugliness, the clearer things became, but in the clearness I also saw other scarier things too. Young family members & friends who click on lewd adverts, memes, & videos which then were popping up in my news feed, most likely unknown to the young person. Vulgar memes by those starved for love, affection, & attention, which resulted in having to remove people from my friend’s list.
Those friends who take a million selfies because they need to be told how beautiful they are each day. Those young friends & family members who take semi-lewd photos of themselves looking for a little attention, unaware of the type it’s likely to bring. Parents who have to be pumped up at every turn to be told they rock this world in order to make it through another day.
And those endless articles of hatred spewed from the left, the right, & everywhere in between. Christians friends screaming how we must show love all while “liking” memes that are full of hate towards various political parties & peoples. Other Christian friends who can’t do good or show Jesus’ love without coming on FB, complete with photos, to prove they’d fed the homeless, paid for someone’s groceries, or in some way blessed another person.
And somewhere in there, on rare occasion I’d see the only thing I was really on Facebook for, a photo of a family member I hadn’t seen in years. The sweet face of a niece I’ve yet to have the delight to meet, my deployed brother, my mother enjoying life, my older & equally sweet niece doing what she does best, a friend’s baby giving it’s first smile. All these are so far & few between though, that you spend months looking, reading, & watching absolute rubbish waiting for that one beautiful thing to float through.
The world’s need for instant gratification has reached an all time high. People who give up Facebook for Lent, apps to block Facebook because we are too weak to stay away. Friend’s who break the rules to get their kids on early. Teens who mock other teens for not wanting to be a part of social media. Groups who will only update you via Facebook, companies who uses Facebook in place of web pages.. the list goes on!
It was probably a month or two after the first ugly incident happened that I was quietly working away in my crafting corner listening to The Life Giving Home. I was colouring one minute & stock still the next as I heard the younger author say, “I decided to give up Facebook. Just for a month. I realised I was checking it way too often, & I needed a break.”
I listened as her story unfolded, of the changes that she noticed overcoming herself as she acclimatised back into family life around her. This young woman, who’d authored the book with her mother, stopped me in my tracks as I sat & listened & knew one thing was certain. God was speaking to me & the message was still as clear then as it had been months prior.
Yet, each time I planned to step away something was required of me at least once a day on the infamous social media site. I had items I was selling in a second hand group. I was waiting for an answer from a business before I placed an order. I was asked to help admin a planner group. I was waiting on a school order to arrive so I could reach out for help from fellow users if needed.
There’s always a reason, or excuse, if you allow there to be one, & that’s exactly what I was doing. I was strolling through FaceBook on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago waiting for the others in the home to get up, when I realised that I was so use to seeing rubbish I wasn’t really stopping to read anything, I was simply scrolling for the sake of scrolling, & it hit me: “This is pointless.”