As a teenager, I watched a lot of soaps! Anything from Dallas to Eastenders, Neighbours to Friends. I’m sometimes shocked by the amount of hours it’s possible to spend doing this. I suppose I was searching, straining to see and connect with the world, and I found media to be a quick fix for these things. I was also a bookworm!! Always eager to reach the next chapter, lost in the detail of a carefully crafted human tale. As my faith started to blossom, my prayer life flourished and I guess this need fell by the wayside. Suddenly I didn’t so want to fill my mind with fiction, and gradually cut out such “telly time”. And there was a blessing in this! I found that the dreadful “comparison game” halted, as we all know that many of these media characters are just that – illusions of fiction! What’s more they are “framed” in a way that flatters and distorts.
In this new season I began to have thought time to devote to real relationships, social issues and family. This created a space in my mind for God’s love to come and transform me. It was a revelation! Here I found great productivity and creativity.
And now I find that this space is under threat again. This time it’s filled with real people. It’s a book brimming with wonderful friends and family in, both distant and present. With many of these people I might once have just exchanged cards at Christmas time. Now I have a perpetual window into their lives. Yet I feel the burden of this too! I find it hard to keep up with so many people. And sometimes Facebook makes me feel sad and empty…with so many people living apparently fun-packed lives, it makes wonder about my own. However, on more than one occasion I have presumed from Facebook that one of my friends is leading a wonderful life, only later to find out that their lives are in crisis.
So here I stand upon the edge of a great challenge. How can I engage with the new social media world, but not fall to it? How can I be thankful for the opportunity to engage with old friends, but not be bound by it? Maybe tonight I might do something radical and pick the phone up. Have a proper chat with just one person…just like the old days!