Facebook has been a wonderful resource for finding long lost friends and reconnecting. It creates the illusion of a smaller community in a world that can overwhelm us with its vastness and speed. In the FB world, you can wave from your window to your neighbor across the street...in Africa. But, it also enables us to peer into people's rooms that we may not want to enter. It can be eye-opening and disappointing, even devastating, to read a post on a friend's wall that diverges so off-course from our own lives that it sits like bile in the pit of our stomachs.
When I first joined, I was caught up in the joy and wonder of connecting with friends. As time has gone on, I've made decisions on who I welcome onto my page, and who I turn away. It is not an entirely comfortable feeling, yet I feel protective, of myself.
It took me a while, but several years ago I realized that I don't have to be friends with everyone. I'm a grown-up, and I can choose who has my heart, who gets to hug me, and who I want to hang out with. Even online.
As is our human nature, we tend to gravitate toward those who think like us, who have mutual interests, shared pasts, or who make us feel good. But, like any delicious dessert, sometimes you take a bite and realize... you just don't want any.
Yesterday was such a day. A friend on Facebook posted this on her wall:
DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN
It both angered and shocked me. The friend is not someone I know all that well. Yet, we share a recent past having spent a lot of time together in a prenatal class during our pregnancies. And, it seemed a natural choice to be Facebook friends, an easy way to share silly stories and pictures of our children. Now I'm not so sure...
Everyone is entitled to post what they want on their FB wall. But, that kind of hate mongering is foreign to me. And, I don't want it in my news feed dipping into my consciousness, messing with my good mojo, that I work so hard to keep on a daily basis. Just reading it, knowing that a friend posted it, makes me feel slimy and unclean.
So, for today, I'm going to take a big breath. And...let it out. Step outside. Take a moment to feel the crisp, clean air on my face that blew in overnight. Later, I will give my children extra hugs. And someday soon, I will tell them that sometimes, you have to ask people to pack up their hate toys and go home...