Saturday, August 02, 2014
Friday, August 01, 2014
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The withdrawal from social media has me jonesing in odd ways. The reach to post or "catch up" on those constant streams of thought on Twitter and Facebook has been ridiculous - if not embarrassing. As if it somehow proves my existence to share my thoughts on that plane. Or worse, the worthiness of my existence.
But get this. Dude, it's so much quieter in my brain!
And, of course, some would say my posts here are merely a substitute; and perhaps this blog is the step down drug of my detox. But detoxing I am... Not reaching for that Twitter feed of Flint Police Ops after hearing sirens at 3am - oh yeah, it takes courage and determination baby!
Now that I'm not cruising the Twitter feeds for news, I came upon this - believe me, I wasn't looking for it, but it certainly seemed timely. Research has winnowed out the negative symptoms of social media addicts (like me - there, I said it!) There is that same jittery feeling when you can't check the status or look at the feeds. But the piece went on further to describe the deeper issues such as seeing an ex on Facebook can restrict personal growth and emotional recovery; excessive usage can be a contributing factor in divorce; spending more time on Facebook can lead to increased feelings of unhappiness with your own life; and passively scrolling through your News Feed can increase feelings of loneliness and isolation.
I also was struck by the human nature observation of a 25-year-old who had just been sentenced in a Grand Rapids court for his role in the murder of another man. As he was leaving the courtroom, the guy turns toward the prosecutor, police and the family of a murder victim and held up the middle finger on each of his cuffed hands and cussed at them.
Wow! I had to read it a couple times. I thought I missed something. Here was this adult male who had destroyed the lives of a family - and he was angry at them? He was facing the consequences of his actions - and he was angry - and made the entire situation even more deplorable.
There is so much I do not understand about life - about people. So much that is utterly confusing as we try to find logic in a very illogical world.
It seems the greatest hope we can have is to be a faithful person - to have faith in something greater than ourselves. To be known as a faithful person who can be counted on to help make the world a better place. To be the real deal to everyone we encounter.
But what makes a person truly genuine?
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
A friend of mine attended the Cannabis Cup this past weekend, billed as a two-day marijuana celebration at Auto City Speedway. He/she said some 400 people attended a concert Saturday night by Wyclef Jean, wandered through all sorts of vendors selling drug paraphernalia, and entered a "Medicinal Tent" where they were able to freely experience the "medicinal" effect of pot. High Times Magazine sponsored the event - and I forgot to ask if my friend saw a single doctor.
So my friend tells me they need an id to enter the medicinal tent "where the real action is." Of course, he/she didn't have an id, but their much older friend did. Forget the fact they look nothing alike! The old friend is granted access after the attendant checked the id. The old friend manages to slip the id back to my friend, poignantly reminding me of those days when fake ids granted access to every bar on college campuses. My friend flashes the id to the attendant who looks at it, looks at he/she, looks at id, looks at he/she - squints, then somewhat exasperated, says, "Whatever. Go ahead. Have fun." Entrance to the Medicinal Tent at the High Times Magazine Cannabis Cup is granted. No one even seemed the least bit concerned for the illness my friend was experiencing. In fact, my friend said they didn't see a lot of sick people attending the event.
WHAT?? This wasn't a modern day Bethesda with a multitude of sick, blind and withered, waiting for the moving of the water? (Scripture - look it up - John 5:2&3!)
It's all in the billing of this stuff, how we market it. The words on every social media program seems to promise all that we longed for in high school - popularity. Just how many friends do we have? Do they like us? Did they accept my friend request? Oh my gosh, what about that feeling when we discover we have "friends" who have "unfriended" us?
It is hard for me not to hear the echoing words of a Flint teacher when I am considering all this. At the time, I was struck by his progressive stance that social media is actually nothing more than the 21st century playground - kids do the same things online as they did when they were outside and beyond the reach and glance of teachers who would correct anti-social behavior. On both playgrounds, there were bullies, false friends, words were said that stuck for a lifetime. Sometimes they get caught. Lots of times they don't.
Truth be told, we don't really have as many friends as Facebook boasts. In a crisis, very few, if any, of my Twitter followers would be willing to drop everything to help me through the terror. And I have bemoaned the fact that hardly anyone ever likes my photos on Instagram - and I think they are great shots, darn it!
And there may have been a few sick folks in the Medicinal Tent, but I am thinking the great majority were not. They were in there trying to feel better about life, sliding in under a false identity, but hoping the subterfuge wouldn't be discovered.
This post represents my first day of not relying on words and truly seeking presence in friendships the old fashioned way. No false identities. No subterfuge.
It also represents not having any friends as defined by the 21st century...