Facebook is a world of constantly changing statuses.
Social media culture, in general, is very interesting to me. I am on Facebook daily. I am not ashamed of my screen time. Yes, I do have a husband, kids, a job outside of the home, and a house that I care for. And as a military spouse, it is hard to take a break from social media. It is what helps me stay and feel connected to friends I care about; to companions I am no longer able to spend physical time with.
It’s interesting how you can feel connected to people and disconnected from people at the same time. I’m definitely an extrovert who loves to be around people, and I prefer talking on the phone to texts and emails. Facebook and other social media like it is kind of an in-between area for me.
However, in a world full of opportunity to connect and find community, it sure is easy to feel alone.
I want to let you all in on a secret: about 99 percent of what I post are the positive, happy, smiling, stress-free moments of my life. But the other part of that secret is that my life is not 99 percent positive, happy, smiling and definitely not stress-free.
I love seeing others post about their adventures because it feels good to dream and think about my next adventure.
I love seeing posts with pictures of precious babies born; it stirs up the joy I have for them and the memories of when my older kids were once tiny and innocent.
I love seeing new marriages, birthday reminders and celebrations, and of course new puppies. These things bring me joy and many times help me to re-focus on the positives around me, giving me more energy to handle the stress around me as well.
And I love to see who responds to my posts. Yes, I realize that there is a whole algorithm as to how Facebook works and who sees my posts. Yes, I know that most people (and probably no one but my father) is typing in my name to see my current updates. But it still feels good to be seen.
But then there are the not so positive posts.
There are posts of grief and loss or the status change of married to single. These posts affect me the most. We see the typical responses that last for a few days to a few weeks: “I’m sorry for your loss,” or “my prayers are with you,” and other words of encouragement. But quickly everyone returns to their “normal” social media lives.
Sometimes they have a spike in positive posts or pictures; sometimes it’s obvious that they are struggling. But after a while, the responses decrease.
For most people, it’s hard to know how to respond, even if we have experienced these moments in our own lives. Perhaps we just don’t want to focus on it too much when we are trying to escape our own troubles. I will admit to my own decreased responses, and I often feel bad about it. I want to help but don’t know how or feel it just isn’t my place.
However, to the friend whose status has changed, I see you.
It may have been a long time since we’ve seen each other or spoken; I may not know if it’s appropriate to re-enter your life right now. But I see you.
Your posts with quotes about loss, grief, hard relationships are present in my feed. I watch the changes in your lifestyle. I see you trying to rebuild your life. I might chuckle at the sarcastic memes trying to mask the hurt.
Even though I may not respond to you, I see you. I think of you often, and I really do pray for you. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
To those who are doing okay right now, I’m so happy for you. But reach out to those you see that are not. That’s what friends do, no matter how long ago that friendship was or how far away that friend is.