I have had my Facebook account for over four years now. It has been a love/hate relationship that Mr. Facebook and I have had.
I love that I have reconnected with childhood and college friends that I thought I had ‘lost’ forever.
Facebook has provided a way for my extended family to maintain some sort of ‘closeness’ which we had lost since our dear Ma-Ma died several years ago.
The hate part is where Facebook is just plain weird. You know that moment when you are talking to someone and telling them a story about something that happened and they comment, “Oh, I saw your pictures on Facebook.”
All of a sudden you realize that the comments and the number in front of the little thumbs up symbol are not a good indicator of who is actually reading your status about what you ate that day or the picture of your child’s crazy hair day.
If I think on that fact too long, I get a bit creeped out.
I am willing to admit that I find it fun to read the comments and see who ‘liked’ my status. I guess that is a bit vain. However, I have moved a lot in my life, and I think somehow the comments and thumbs up sign make me feel that all my ‘friends’ that I love and miss are still close and care about me.
However, a status I made a little over a month ago got a response I did not expect.
Sometimes I post a status that I think might bring a smile to someone who is having a rough day.
Sometimes I feel that God puts something on my heart that I feel prompted to share on Facebook believing that someone else needed the encouragement that God gave me.
Here’s what I wrote on November 1, 2012
It was only a matter of time. Met a new friend at Subway at lunch because I could tell she was out of place. Bless her heart she didn’t even know how to order at Subway. Offered to take her home and found myself pulling into the apartments at 60th and Peoria. Left in tears. Not because of all the brokenness I saw beyond that gate, but because it has taken me four and a half years of driving past to dare to meet someone who lived inside. Yes I was alone. Yes I told Joe. Was he surprised. No. Was he surprised I didn’t scoop up all the teenagers I saw inside (who should have been in school) and force them in my minivan. Yes. Pray for my new friend Donna. Lost her child. Lost her mom. Lost her grandmother. Said the Lord was the only friend she has. I was glad to change that today. So glad I didn’t give into the busyness of the day and overlook her. Wonder just how many opportunities I have missed because I just am so stinkin’ busy. Forgive me Lord.
Almost immediately the comments started appearing and the number of ‘likes’ started climbing.
What was it about that post that struck a chord with so many people? Many people who likely read Facebook every day and never have ‘liked’ my status or commented on it before did that day.
I have spent the last month wrestling with this and thinking over the comments people wrote.
I honestly wasn’t looking for applause or affirmation. Quite the opposite.
It was something I wanted to ‘shout out to the world’ in confession, and Facebook is the closest thing I have to a mountaintop from which to shout my confessions.
It was the Thursday before the Presidential election, and I was just so stinkin’ tired of the election campaign battles over whose fault it is that there are so many children who go to bed hungry in our wealthy nation.
I was tired of all the debates over whose policies are the answer to changing poverty in America.
Tired of some blaming our welfare system for creating a segment of our society that does not want to work.
Tired of some blaming the schools for all the illiterate children that graduate high school in our nation.
It wasn’t until I met Donna that I realized why all the campaign debating and all the political bantering on the radio and social media had been causing me so much frustration.
The day I met Donna the blame shifted.
The finger that I am tempted to point outward at the opposing political party
or at Congress
or at the President
or at all the millionaires in this nation vacationing in Tahiti while children go to bed hungry all over our country . . .
My index finger turned and began pointing at my own heart.
As I drove Donna home, I was somehow able to overlook the ‘Obama phone’ in her lap. I looked past the fact that she was needing to hurry home to take medicine. I didn’t even want to think about what she meant by ‘medicine’, or if ‘I’ had paid for that medicine and her doctor’s visit.
Though our conversation in Subway and my van only lasted about 25 minutes, there is an image from that day that keeps swirling around in my mind.
You see as I drove out of that taboo apartment complex I saw the apartment playground. And tears started streaming down my face. I pictured Donna, who is now 37 just like me, as a 7 year old girl laughing and playing on that playground.
I was seven once too. I remember what it was like to be playing on a playground with friends and then racing home at 6 pm to a hot meal on the table as my mom and dad and siblings bowed our heads to thank God for the blessings of the day.
I knew that was likely not the memories that Donna had from when she was seven. If I were to ask, I would bet that there was not a safe home to run to at the end of an afternoon of playing.
I don’t have to ask to know that the ‘blessings’ I knew as a child were the things seven year old Donna only saw on TV or dreamed about.
Donna is no longer seven. She is a 36 year old woman working to earn a GED in hopes that she can someday earn enough to pay the bills. Donna lives in an apartment complex where she can’t fall asleep without fearing for her life and has no family to turn to for help.
Some would point fingers and say that Donna is the mess our government has created.
I have chosen to turn the finger and point it at myself. I too am the mess that exists in our nation. Towns and cities full of people like me who often rather point a finger or write a check than get their hands ‘dirty’ by helping the Donna’s who are all around us.
One of my favorite quotes is from Andy Stanley. “Do for one what you wish you could do for all.”
I may not be the answer to the world. But I may be the answer for Donna.
Dare I ask, “Who is your ‘one’?”