This was a hard week. By Friday, I found myself crying off and on throughout the day. I finally asked myself, “Why am I so weepy this week?”. As I looked back over the last 7 days, over each one and all that it held, I realized all the hard and sad news that was shared. It was as if I hadn’t noticed things stacked up in a pile in the corner due to all the daily life happening around me.
Each day it seemed there were new people reaching out for prayer. Sorrow and heaviness for sickness and trials, loneliness, a lack of community. As each new story was unwrapped, my heart sank.
Saturday morning, as I got ready to visit dear friends whose son is at Children’s Hospital right now, I read Psalm 126.
“Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.”
I love agricultural imagery because it is so tangible and easy for me to understand. The analogy was so beautiful to see. Many times I have planted in tears. There are times in life where we think our tears are for nothing. But I had a picture after reading this psalm of tears watering a seed. It grows up and it produces an abundance out of sorrow. Joy out of sadness.
These things my friends are bearing are so heavy. They are planting in tears. They are weeping as they prepare the soil for what they long to see grow. And they will wait. But as we share those stories together, what joy will be there when that harvest is collected.
Facebook has this way of waning in and out of two poles for me; extreme annoyance and fun voyeurism. Currently I’m leaning towards the extreme annoyance of it all. (Instagram is the answer.) I find myself running to social media for a “friend fix” only to feel like I could really go for some time with an actual friend. In real time and in a real place with real sacrifice made to be there!
I don’t think I’m alone either. I’ve noticed many friends uninstalling the Facebook app from their phone/moving it/burying it in some far away folder. Some friends have even completely given up their smart phones and gone back to a flip phone.
Maybe we are starting to understand that there is no substitute for real in-your-face friendship?
I remember back in 2006 when my husband and I did a tour of an Amish community. The tour guide told us “Amish windows speak”. She said that if the curtains (plain white) are down in front of the windows, it means that family would like privacy. But if the curtains are pulled to the side and tucked or tied back, it means that visitors are welcome.
Isn’t that beautiful?
There is this part of me that is longing to completely ditch technology and embrace a life of only in-my-face/life friends. I feel the tension creep in whenever I see all of the social media outlets that are available to people. They consume time like a starved leech sucking the life from pulsing veins. Then the reminder of friends who are far away in other states and countries pulls me the other direction with a sharp snap.
If you see me on Facebook, you know I don’t hate it so much that I stay away; I’m on there multiple times a day. But my heart has been checked lately by the ways that I’m using it as a crutch for real time with real friends.
There is no substitute for arms to hug, faces to watch rise and fall, smiles and tears on a real human face and not some emoji. I want the curtains in my windows to be pulled back and ready to both receive and to give. I’m challenging myself to take the time that I waste on Facebook and pick up the phone to call a friend-and then to ask them to come hang out with me or to invite myself to come and be wherever they are.
There is no substitute for a life lived in community with others. So stop reading this and go hang out with a real person!