Monday, September 28, 2009

Click "Share"

It's a cloudy day today, and cloudy days always make thoughtful.  It's almost like the world put the sun away for awhile to give it some rest so we appreciate it more when it comes back.

Today, I am thinking about how lonely we all are. I wonder a lot how anyone can feel lonely in today's world, where the internet provides a constant feed of information to read about and a thousand ways to talk about it.  Your cell phone is never far away, and any time you feel a pang, you could just call up a good friend and share a laugh.  And we're busy.  We're so busy with so many different responsibilities and expectations, who has the time or the energy to worry about loneliness?  We have enough to do to fill our the hours, thanks very much.  I confess there are days when I feel so drained that I screen phone calls, ignore text messages, or put off answering emails because I just don't have enough energy to be perky or tell anecdotes.

For a very few people in my life, I can be real and talk about my thoughts and problems, but even then...I hesitate.  And why?  Why, when we are feeling so alienated and so tired of doing it all alone, do we keep our distance?  I look forward to plans made with old friends, but as the time draws nearer for a lunch or dinner date, I start to feel anxious, like I would rather do something alone, because I just can't endure the "catching up" part.  At this point in my life, I just don't have any jazzy and exciting answers to the question, "what's new?"  Right now, I am at a tricky and scary crossroads full of brooding thoughts and soul-searching.  But when someone asks me how things are, I never say, "Well, I have been really unhappy lately, and I am wondering if it's time to make some changes."  Even if that is the truth, I would never tell them that.  I might as well go around all day without my pants and try not to feel exposed.

I think about the advent of things like Facebook, Twitter, and even little blogs like this one.  What are they but an opportunity for really lonely people to shout out, to try to get someone to listen to them?  I mean, do we need to know when an old high school pal is making cookies or what a former co-worker had for lunch or who broke their iPhone?  No.  We broadcast these meaningless details because we are afraid to share anything real or substantial with each other, but we need to connect to somehow, some way.  The ironic part is that we end up creating more distance between ourselves.  We have so many new ways to communicate, but we never really say anything to each other.  We just make more noise and create diversions, upload smiley-faced pictures to our profiles and type "lol" or "omg" under funny comments.  (Side Note: I also appreciate the irony of writing about this in my little blog and then posting it on my Facebook wall.)  And I want everyone to be honest: haven't you all sent a Facebook Friend request to someone just so that you can snoop around and judge them?  Don't you want to see that a rival from high school or an old flame has gained weight or gotten divorced, just so that you can feel better about the direction of your own life?  No wonder we hesitate to share anything real with each other.

So I guess the point of this is to issue a challenge or a request or even just a nice suggestion.  Ask someone you love how they are, and then tell them that they can give you the real, truthful answer.  (And when they do, listen to them.  It's scary to be honest.)  Or when someone asks you how you are, don't give them a forced smile and say "fine."  Tell them something real that is going on in your life.  Give that person a chance to support and love you.  God sent us friends and neighbors for a reason.  We don't have to do this thing called life alone.

I know this blog doesn't have many followers yet, but for those who read it, you should know every word I type here is my own truth.  I am choosing to let people in so that I can start really living.  So, I will finish writing this post, and I will proofread it about 17 times.  Then I will read it twice more for good measure.  Then I will take a really deep breath, post it, and click "share."  You should know it scares me every time I do it.


momma23 said...

I DO want to know how you are - the good, the bad, the ugly. Because that's what friends are for. and I'll share my good, bad, and ugly (including baby poo and runny noses) with you - really can't wait to see you on Sunday!!!!

Jennifer G. said...

So this awesome thing happened since I posted this. Not only did you all take me seriously when I suggested that we reach out and help each other reached out to me and helped me. Thanks to friends, new and old, who have been sending me positive messages of support and encouragement. I feel the love!