One thing I have learned about facebook is that we give each other the strokes we need to carry on in our “real” lives. While I appreciate that, I just wanted to set the record straight.I have been learning in the last few months how important our facebook community is. Someone is always here to share the good news with–and the bad. We ask for prayers for each other, we give prayers for each other. We share with delight the marriages and the birth of babies. We love posting recipes and vacation photos. We each pass on important news of the day, weather reports, sporting events wins and losses. We share with each other the beautiful things we experience in the world. We share in the sorrows, too. Then we pray more.
I have found that we are far from the “imaginary friends” some skeptics of facebook friendships have suggested. We truly share our lives with each other. While I have experienced the “bots” here on fb and the people who present themselves as something other than who they really are, I have found some of my best friends in a way I would never have been able to without facebook. Some of my best friends are halfway around the world. Some are right here in Washington, but there is not much difference. There is a possiblity we will never meet in the flesh, but they are as important to me as those of you right here that I have met. On the other hand, I have met some of my friends from different parts of the state, the country and the world that I never would have believed possible.
While some people post only what is positive in their lives, I have rather put myself out into the world as I am. I have strengths, but there are far more weaknesses. I have posted about some of my trials and my challenges and my faults (remember my late night confession to loving just the skin of KFC or my guilty pleasure in watching “Toddlers and Tiaras”). I do think we strengthen each other with our triumphs, but I have been learning that we also grow from watching each other go through our challenges and come out victorious! I know this because some of you have told me that they are watching how I handle adversity and learn from what I learn. Who knew that would happen? Yet, I have experienced that myself, from those of you who have suffered flood, fire, loss of a parent or child or friend. I see how much stronger you have become, how you are understanding of others, more loving (if that’s possible for most of you) and more eager to give of yourselves .Our trials make us stronger. We all know that. We don’t necessarily like trials, but we all recognize that these things are for our growth. This very life we have on earth is for just that very reason–to grow. We love when things are going smoothly, but we learn best when they are not.
We hear enough gloom and doom from the news, each other and our political groups. Why on earth, then, would we post it about ourselves? Because we need each other. Because we need the prayers. We need to know we aren’t the only one in the world going through this. Because we’re human. Life is not always positive. I don’t share the negative or challenges I am facing to have you tell me how wonderful I am, or how brave, inspirational or many of the other kind things you’ve said. I post them because I am NOT perfect. We should always be striving for perfection. But we are not perfect. Especially me. I post positive things about courage when I need courage myself. I post about love when I feel I need to show love more. I post about everything because I learn from writing about patience and understanding and tolerance and love when I try to write about these things. I post what I have learned, not because I am perfect in them, but because I am learning about these attributes. I learn most from you.
After having poor self-esteem most of my life, even sometimes now, something I know we all have trouble with from time to time, it is so wonderful to hear that you like my photos, or something I have written or something else I have shared. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. But I don’t post anything to get these comments. I write them because they come from my heart. They are what I feel. They are what I long for. I write because I have to. Thank you for reading what I write. Thank you for putting up with me, for my way of using thirty words when most of you use just one. Thank you for being my virtual friends and for being my real friends. I am very blessed. You teach me so much. You are all awesome, wonderful, inspiring and a thousand other incredible, glorious and beautiful words. You are all you have ever said of me and much more. Anything you have ever said to me–the good things, at least–go right back atcha, darlins.
I love you all.
Mary Sue Marshall
September 8, 2012