I still feel like I miss out on a lot. There are friends I primarily kept up with and maintained contact with via Facebook and I miss not knowing what's going on in their lives. There are family members that I never get to talk to and I have virtually no idea how things are going for them. Social media (especially Twitter) was my main form of news information, so I have been behind in knowing about a lot of news.
What is interesting about what I'm "missing" is that I am ok with it. I don't need to know all the tiny details of my friends' lives. It is SUCH a joy to see them, or text with them, or receive an email from far away friends and hear about how things are going. I love the intimacy of sharing real life with my friends, no matter how near or far, because when we converse with one another, the level of trust is infinitely higher than when we "like" Facebook posts or tap out something small and insignificant that doesn't actually bring others, truly, into our lives. For a multitude of reasons, not just this social media fast, I have seen my relationships with friends blossom lately. But I think that this plays a huge part, mostly because when we talk, we go deeper, when we see each other, the quality of time is richer, even when we text, we ask "how can I pray for you?" While I often asked for prayers using social media (and blessedly received them!), I can promise you that I never shared the deeper, real needs for prayer. Being vague, across the board, is not friendship.
As far as news goes, I am careful to protect myself from certain news and I have been for a long time. If you catch me watching the news, you should take my pulse. When I read Searching for and Maintaining Peace for the first time, I was able to finally understand something significant about myself. I empathize to a fault. I internalize other people's feelings, I take on burdens into my heart that are not mine....and then I fall into desolation. Desolation is not from God. Sadness is not something He wills for us and it is easy for my imagination to go wild, way too wild. Before I had the huge realization that God does not give us the graces to handle certain situations unless we are in them, I had many sleepless nights. I worried endlessly about people I knew and loved, about our government, about situations around the world, about human rights issues that I was helpless to correct by myself. These things would unduly burden me, and I would loose joy. I would loose hope.
Indeed, we live in "a valley of tears." As one of my dearest friends commented, we are not living in Eden. This world is wracked, wracked, wracked with evil, and suffering, and so many people walk through life feeling completely hopeless. Social media was one of the main ways I encountered various political nonsense, heartbreaking news stories, and projections about the status of the world. But here is the thing: I refuse to live in fear. My hope is in the Lord. I don't live with my head in the sand. I know, in broad terms, what is going on in the world. I pray all the time for our government, for our country & culture, for those around the world who are suffering, for those close to me who are suffering. My responsibility is to remain at peace. It is to allow myself to be transformed by the Faith, by my hope in Heaven, to not wallow in sadness, to not fear suffering or death - because it comes for us all. My responsibility is to affect what is within my reach. It is to love well. Constant bombardment of the media on Facebook and Twitter did not aid me in Joy.
Many years ago, I stopped drinking Cokes. Then a few years ago, I quit Diet Cokes. Around the same time, I made a commitment to not eat fast food (uh, Chick-fil-a excepted). These little absences in my life led to healthier lifestyle in general - I'm not a nutrition guru, but we don't eat a lot of junk. You won't find me on any Paleo diet, but I can't fathom the thought of putting things into my body at which I used to never bat an eye. I'm thinking that two months into this little experiment, I may have already made up my mind. The thought of getting on Facebook now feels like driving through McDonald's for a cheeseburger and a coke. Quite off-putting. It's surprised me! I feel more whole. More healthy. And very grateful.
Peace I leave with you, My own peace I give to you; a peace the world cannot give, this is My gift to you. Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid...(John 14:27)