Preferable

It’s time to write again.

Because, quite frankly, there’s nothing else to do.

The two extroverts in the house are dying a slow death. The two introverts are thriving. It seems as though there should be a perfect balance to the family dynamic with that two plus two combination. There isn’t.

I’ve cleaned every surface that can possibly be cleaned. I’ve cleaned out almost every closet and shelf that exists in this house. Discipline has been enforced and promised for the minor squabbles that keep breaking out amidst all the Stir Crazy that is setting in within these four walls.

Each human is organizing their schedule for the pending remote learning reality we are all facing. Workspaces have been designated. Playlists have been curated. Movie cues have been arranged – by genre. Books are sorted and stacked in the most desired reading order. The pantry has been raided, sufficiently, thank-you-very-much. Exercise DVD’s are standing at the ready from all said raiding.

A 2,000 piece puzzle is currently spread out over the expanse of the dining room table. Every family member takes a stab at it at some point in the course of the day. Sometimes, we even sit and tackle it together.

Riveting information, I know.

Spotify has introduced me to more new music genres than I ever cared to know exist. Did you know that in addition to House music, there is also Tech house, Deep house, Tropical house and heaven-knows-whatever-other kinds of house music?

Netflix, Hulu, and PrimeVideo keep alerting me to shows/movies I might like. I’ve decided they don’t know me quite as well at they think they do.

My Amazon cart reminds me that I still have 48 books that I’ve saved for later, should I blast through the current 35 I have waiting for me on my nightstand. “Three down and 80 left to go,” I’ve taken to telling myself.

My meme game is strong. I’ve been flexing those social media cruising muscles and finding plenty to lift.

This self-imposed period of isolation has introduced more choice into my life than I ever wanted.

Too much, really.

Choice is exhausting.

A blinking cursor seems less overwhelming than deciding which pantry snack I’m going to have to ration today.

These aren’t even real problems, people.

Having no toilet paper, or food for your hungry kids, or job because your place of employment has been closed for the immediate future – those are real problems.

So, maybe I’m more overwhelmed because I’m faced with the realization that what I’m going through mentally doesn’t quite rank up there with Things to Be Worried Over, after all.

Blowing off a little steam on the page, or screen, seems a preferable outlet for my anxiety over this pandemic than another household chore, snack, movie, or book choice (Although, really, are there ever enough books to be read? Correct answer – no.)?

For now, anyway, the blinking cursor is definitely preferable.

Yes indeedy.

 

 

 

Five Reasons I Don’t Jump to the Comments

Social Media and blogging accomplish much. For me, it provides opportunities for connection as a writer, as a Believer, as a Mother of an atypical kid on the Autism Spectrum, and as a Bama’ Alumnus. My interactions with people online have led to forming some mighty strong bonds of friendship – friendships that have only been encouraged to grow, as I’ve been able to meet some of these people in real life, over the years.

But…

I’ve learned that there is also dark side to the Internets.

It’s found in the comments and replies.

While there is a beautiful place for comments that encourage and support, and even question, it is one that needs to be entered with Light. With all The Light within.

Here are just five reasons why I choose not to jump to the comments, in some places.

1. If the article, post, or tweet is even remotely precocious, the comments are extreme. Extreme makes me break out in hives.

2. Comments on an inflammatory issue rarely include facts. And when they do, they are often absent of the grace that laces productive conversations. Grace, like oxygen, seems to be sucked right out of the environment. I like grace. I need oxygen.

3. As, quite possibly, El Presidente`of The Feelers Club, my emotions can run high all by themselves. And when my emotions start outrunning the facts, voila`! My already limited ability to be tactful or sensitive in certain situations is quashed. It’s not pretty. I’m not pretty.

4. Have you ever gotten into a commenting war with someone presenting the other side, and gotten to the end and said to yourself, “Why yes! That was the best 3 hours of my life!” Me either.

5. Every time I encounter a commenting hater, “Shake It Off“, by Taylor Swift, is stuck in my head for far too long. Touche` haters. Touche`.

This doesn’t mean that there is no place for comments. Or for debate. Lord knows that I love a good healthy debate! And, here, in this space, I’ve only encountered encouraging, helpful, and graceful comments. (And made more than a few life-long friends, in the deal!)

It does mean, however, that I will often read a piece written by one of the Internets and either jump down to my reply space to encourage or question the writer, or walk away considering it further. Because, the older I get, the more wisdom I find in these truths:

They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions” 1 Timothy 6:4 (NIV)

“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” Titus 3:9 (ESV)

“Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.” 2 Timothy 2:23 (NLT)

Those are some good Words, right there.

I’m sure you could add a reason, or four, that I’ve never even considered. And that is one of the many beautiful benefits of the commenting areas.

But, maybe that’s a post for another day.

Yes indeedy.

All The Editing

I’m keeping the tone of what I have to say light, but be sure of this – I’m sharing deep here, today.  And it’s scary deep, to me.

“Conversations happen in real time and cannot be edited.” *  This quote, my friend Katie heard recently, really stuck in my craw.

Hard.

Then, a few days later, I listened to an online message about looking for likes in all the wrong places. And my ears perked up all over again at this: “Instead of trying to sound interesting, build others up.” (by Steven Furtick)

Ouch.

In all of the thinking I’ve been doing about these two quotes, I keep going back to that first one about conversation. I’ve realized that people only see a sliver of what’s really going on in my real life on social media exactly because I do so much “editing”.

All The Editing can’t be a good thing. It makes it seem like I am so much more witty, intelligent, or jovial than I really am.

Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t believe that being any of those things are negative. In fact, I’m a firm believer that God gave each of us particular gifts to be shared with the world.  As long as we’re pouring Him out into and onto others as we go along, and doing it all for His glory.

But here’s the rub, for me: I start to believe that I am nothing if I’m not able to make enough people laugh (at me), or join the conversation (with me), or show interest.

In me.

I’m cringing as I’ve tapped out those two little words.  They tell me all I need to know about the condition of my heart, deceitful above all things.

I just can’t get that initial conversation quote out of my head, either! Maybe because I’m not supposed to. It sure felt like that quote was directed straight toward my heart when I first read it.  The dagger of truth only sank deeper and deeper in each time it crossed my mind.

I truly can’t edit a conversation. Right? Not if it is happening in the now. Oh sure, I can go back and tweak it, or polish it up to make a point, or highlight certain words for emphasis that I hope others will find interesting or important or impressive.  All of those “I” words that our God actually cares nothing for.  He is not interested in my highest highs being the only thing others see.

He’s interested in being the only thing I show others.

Let_Every_Detail_Missindeedy

The more I think on it, the more I believe that was the lesson for me.  No matter how I go about living my life, what tweaks I make, or places in my life that I decide to polish up – I need to be doing it for God’s glory. And His alone.

Every detail, for God. Period.

*(Click on the quote at the beginning of this post and you can read more about what sparked all of this thinking in the first place. You’re going to want to check that out. I Promise.)