Giving up Facebook for Lent may have cut me off from the rest of the world...but these Facebook-less days of prayer and contemplation have helped me realize that I'm never alone.
Science has come a long way during my lifetime (a short 25 years or a long 25 years depending on how you live your life). The idea that I hold more technology in my pocket on any given day than the entire world had for millions of years...is incredible. I still remember how my mother used to write extremely long letters to my relatives in France, Portugal, etc. in the days before email. I remember how excited she used to be whenever a letter came in from abroad, full of news from relatives she could not see for years at a time. Today, it seems like communication is something we take for granted. I gave up Facebook for Lent and I cannot believe how tough it was in the beginning. Though I've gotten used to it, I almost feel like I am cut off from my friends and family....and even my boyfriend.
When it comes to talking to other folk...I prefer to talk face to face...or to be a wimp and just text. If you've ever gotten a voicemail from me....you know why. I pretty much sound like a fool when I leave messages and the idea of my voice bouncing off satellites in space scares me. If there's intelligent life out there...they must think very lowly of the human race if they ever heard my asinine telephone conversations.
In the case of my dad, I have to talk to him on the phone. The closest thing he's done to getting online is asking my sisters and me to look up futbol scores or schedules for him (futbol aka football aka soccer depending on where you live). My dad lives 2 hours away and my schedule won't allow me to visit as many times as I would like. As far as my boyfriend goes, he lives an hour or so away and...again, our schedules keep us apart. However, as we refuse to live together until marriage, we make the best of the time we have and the technology at our disposal. After 5 years, I don't have a problem talking to him on the phone because he understands that I have telephone call amnesia. My dad keeps phone calls short (5 minutes tops) so he never gets a chance to experience how foolish I sound on the phone. I REALLY DO sound like a fool on the phone. I tend to stop mid-sentence and ask people what I was just talking about. I also forget things throughout a conversation and will ask him the same questions or repeat myself over and over again during a typical call. He's already all too familiar with my terrible phone voice, my deplorable use of the English language when tired, and my tendency be exceptionally scatterbrained when it comes to phone conversations.
Giving up Facebook for Lent has certainly crippled my social life. However, it certainly has given me a lot more time to re-evaluate a lot of things. I have had time to meditate upon my religious life. I have prayed more. I have talked about God more (if only through this blog at times). I have certainly read more (and not just romance novels. I am rereading "Mere Christianity" and have come to appreciate this work a lot more these past few days. I read "The Rite" and "An Exorcist Tells His Story." I will certainly have to post about these books later...not for gruesome exorcism stories but for some rather powerful messages within them.
It certainly feels strange how lately it seems that I have been out of contact with the world. At times it feels like I have fallen off the face of the earth considering how out of the loop I am about all the minutiae that I took advantage of before Lent. I do miss some parts, such as being able to wish people a "Happy Birthday!" (because I know I can't remember most of the dates) and to wish people the best of wishes when they had a big test coming up, etc. However, I don't miss Facebook. I realize how much time I wasted on it and I am certainly going to change that once I do get back on Facebook.
However, all things considered, I think being off Facebook has given me a much-needed break from the world. The introspections I've had since leaving Facebook have certainly helped me mature spiritually. I am thinking more and, as a result, becoming more aware of what God has planned for me and how I can best serve Him. I am beginning to pinpoint certain spiritual needs that I had but did not necessarily think about. The switch from rosary to meditative and scriptural rosary has, for example, been a huge breakthrough in terms of life reflection. I have become increasingly aware of habitual sins that I did not notice. I have begun to search myself in a way that has shown me that I am not "in the clear" as far as calming my anger and building up my humility. I am exceptionally flawed even years after my initial attempts to change.
I am not yet the person I want to be...regardless of what others may think. Just because I may seem like a good person, does not necessarily mean that I am a good person. However, I am okay with this since I am beginning to realize just how I can change. I can see now how much work I need. I finally have had the time to re-evaluate myself by looking at myself through Christ's eyes. Not mine. Not anyone else's. I don't have statuses to express frustration. However, I have prayer to ease frustration. I do not have a Facebook wall full of comments to support me through my exams, my health issues, my family's current tribulations...etc. However, I have prayer to ease my fears. Prayer and reflection have certainly helped me throughout these past few weeks.
I am also beginning to truly meditate upon the fact that I can never go back. It almost feels like I have a new set of rules and regulations for myself that may not yet apply to others. I have moved beyond the idea that "well, as long as I don't do enter extremely bad sin here and only do enter seemingly less significant sin here, I can still be a good person." Believe it or not, I have higher expectations of myself than I did a few years ago when I got Confirmed. Believe it or not, I am ashamed about the moral rationale I had just a few years ago. I am just as ashamed of the moral rationale I had a few years ago as I was once ashamed of my moral rationale as a teenager...perhaps even moreso. My current 25 year old self is more ashamed at my "moral relativist" 22 year old self than my stubborn, angry, and proud 18 year old self. Ignorance was my excuse at age 18. Ignorance is forgivable. However, full knowledge of what is wrong and the willingness to commit it (even to a "certain degree") is unacceptable.
As strange as it sounds, I hope that my 30 year old self will one day be ashamed of my 25 year old self. I don't say this because I am a masochist. I say this because I WANT to improve myself.
I WANT I NEED to be a better person. If I can be ashamed of my current self at age 30, it means that I have come a long way. If I just settle at this point, I am considering this a sin of omission. I will consider it a voluntary failure on my part to properly live the life that Christ inspired us to live. I need to improve myself and I want to constantly improve myself so that one day I may be worthy enough to fall on my knees before him with a contrite and humble heart. I want to be able to thank Him for all He's done...everything from the creation of the universe...my wonderful family...my somewhat decent art skills...my education....everything.
As a Saint-in-training who gave up Facebook for Lent, I can't settle for anything less than constant improvement.