Article

Facebook Unfriendliness

facebook-unfriendliness

 

When I joined the Facebook community with a personal profile, my intent was to enjoy it as a place to share in the sweet things of life with my family and friends — events, travels, fun conversations, memories, weekend activities, photos, and the like. If I thought one of my blog posts was something my friends might enjoy reading, I planned to share it, too.

That is how I use Facebook, as do millions of other people.

My news feed is also full of articles and images about politics, religion, entertainers, news headlines, and opinion. People like to share their interests on Facebook, and most of it I welcome.

But then there’s that unfriendly type of sharing that flows through my feed.

People have arguments on Facebook via the comments section, which is fine when the argument is healthy. Some of the arguments get ugly, though, like the one I read through recently and which sparked the writing of this blog post. I cringed as I read the exchange. I knew one of the persons involved, and I wanted to comment, “Pick up the phone or meet up somewhere, and have your argument there!”

Instead, I clicked on “Hide post.”

Most often, the arguments start with shared articles or opinions that have tones like these:

  • Read this article — You won’t believe what these idiots think!
  • Share this story — Let’s help expose her for what she truly is!
  • Look at this photo — Hope it shocks you into action!
  • Watch this video — Why does anyone support him?
  • Sign this petition — We have to get rid of this (thing, person, law, idea, etc.)!
  • If you like this (thing, person, law, idea, etc.), then you need to delete me as a friend!

The unfriendly sharing leads to layers and layers of unfriendly comments as a post spreads throughout the Facebook universe. Name calling. Obscenities. Insults. Belittling. Back and forth let’s-see-who-wins zingers.

Ugh.

Election years and politics are the worst. “Unfriendliness” is too tame a word to describe some of the stuff that continues to pass through my news feed.

It’s sad to see people turn so easily from pleasant to vicious on a social site that promotes friendship.

I stay away from “liking,” sharing, and commenting on Facebook posts with divisive subjects. If I have a passion to share, I do it here on my blog. That way a reader won’t have a feed of fast-moving news to scroll through and will, instead, take the time to read my thoughts. That is my hope. The bonus would be a reader’s unhurried comment that would add to the conversation in a positive way.

Believe me, I have times when I would love to shoot back words or an image to a person who has shared something ugly about my faith, a public figure I admire, or the side of an issue I hold dear. That is an ongoing temptation.

But I hold back because that is not what Facebook is about for me. If I want to get people worked up, I’d rather it spring from well thought-out words that come from my heart — not my wounded pride.

So, if you become my friend on Facebook, expect to have a friendly time as my posts flow through your news feed. Family doings, Santa Barbara love, Pinterest pins, Dodgers game updates, book reviews, brother teasing, share-worthy photos, job love, restaurant recommendations, links to things of beauty, and links to my stories about family, friends, goodness, and God. That’s pretty much it. And I’m happy to join the conversation of posts that are fun, uplifting, and free of hostility.

What do you think? If you are a member of the Facebook community, how do you (or how will you) keep from adding to the unfriendliness?


 

Article

Showing a Story Character With Poems

He lay,
a thinking quiet,
a listening, feeling,
the rhythm of blue,
the color of absence,
the downcast of soul,
and still he chose a smile.

I had the odd thought of using poems to write the petal collector’s side of the story. This is a bit of one.

Article

Writing Prompt: Key

While listening to a Dodger game, I decided to be prudent with my time and do some practice writing between innings. I chose “key” as a writing prompt. Here’s a quick write from the prompt. Nothing great, but the exercise was a lot of fun.

She counted the times the old lady had visited that shack: nineteen since the day Wesley had died. The trunk she dragged out, the blue linen cloth that covered its contents, the crystal perfume bottle, the delicate necklace that carried the key — none of those interested Jade anymore. The trick to getting an invitation inside was convincing Millie Shepherd, town matriarch and her mother-in-law, that Jade knew the reason for the frequency of the visits — and that she knew where Millie had hidden the shoes she wore that ugly night.

Sounds intriguing. I might have to return to this one.


 

Article

In Mother’s Place

The essence of Mother has been in the air this week, but I don’t think the memoir I’m about to begin is going to show me the sweet side of motherhood. Mama’s Girl (1996), a memoir by Veronica Chambers, has this quote on the back cover: “If we learned nothing from this book but the power of forgiveness, that is enough … and thank God for wondrous healing.”

Thank God. Yes. Life with my mother was dreadful after it got to a certain point, but God did heal my heart in a wondrous way.

I stumbled upon a Bible verse one day, shortly after I had given birth to my son, almost 30 years ago: Psalm 27:10 — “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.” The words were a gift. I had never thought about asking God to take me in because I had never seen God as a person. Prior to reading that verse, God was a High Being who existed in a place called Heaven where, if I was good, I would live one day. Mom told me that this God created the world and sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. His Bible contained amazing stories about floods, lions, and what the Israelites did. That was about it. I had no connection with the fact that God cared personally about what I was going through, as I and my siblings dealt with things no children should have to endure.

With this verse, God offered to put an end to my orphanhood, my greatest desire, which would also turn out to be the end of my insecurities and constant bad choices.

God became my Mother — and my Father — that day, and I was finally a member of a healthy home.

Physical abuse. Emotional abuse. Shame. Neglect. All of this I received from my mother or from someone she allowed to get close to me and the rest of her children. Yet these ugly memories of Mom — she died almost 20 years ago — no longer hold me back from being the whole person God created me to be. I gave up the memories when I gave up her position to God. And the amazing thing? I began to love Mom again, not with the warmth that a good relationship brings, but with a love provided by God that goes beyond feelings and expectations. Once I accepted the fact that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), I could better understand her and bring myself to forgive her — a great exchange of a burden for an amazing grace.

Do you have unpleasant thoughts or memories of your mother? Does the Mother’s Day celebration cause you to cringe? Get to know this personal God and let him stand in her place.

(Image of Mama’s Girl from my Instagram feed)


 

Article

Grandma Dee and Tea

In a new scene I’m writing, Rose recalls her grandmother‘s jar collection and the story Grandma Dee had for each one of the jars. They would have tea together as Rose listened. It was during one of these times that Rose learned about a God who loved her. Rose eventually  rejects this God — her childhood pains required this, she told herself — but, thankfully, He doesn’t reject her.

I did not know either of my grandmothers. I met them both, but I was too young to remember feeling a loving touch or having a conversation that might influence the course of my life. I do have fond memories of my Grandma Mamie. She lived in Ohio and her long-distance phone calls were highly anticipated by her six grandchildren. She would regularly send us gifts and one of these has stuck in my mind since I received it when I was no more than five years old: a transistor radio, which was the coveted piece of technology in the mid-1960’s. A vivid memory I have is laying on the grass in our backyard, staring up at the clouds, my transistor radio at my ear,  and listening to Sukiyaki, a song sung in Japanese.

Story writing is the method I use to create what I missed out on in life or to change my experiences into how I wished they had been for me — a super power I own that has healed many emotional wounds.

My grandmother will visit with me, in a way, through my stories.