I almost joined Twitter today. I’ve avoided the popular cesspool of idiocy to this point, but I was so close. Just so I could respond to a tweet by Lecrae, of all people. He pontificated his views on the most recent abortion law in Alabama by saying, among other things, that those of us who are crying about the murder of the unborn are pretty much silent about the injustices of those already born. Those who are marginalized. Those who are oppressed. Those who are abused. He doesn’t hear anyone speaking up for them. Really.
The fields were flooded with melted snow and the rivers ran high as we crossed the bridges of the two-lane highway headed north. My brother and I took a different route this time; one far removed from the fast pace of the interstate. One that wound it’s way through small towns and the open country of Northern Wisconsin. Trailer homes and collapsed barns, newborn cattle and horses grazing in the muddy pasture, little ones out playing by the roadside. A glimpse into rural America. Scenes I had witnessed a hundred times before. With each passing mile, we neared closer to our grandmother’s house, to the little town she’s lived in most of her life with it’s quaint houses and main street dotted with local businesses that have stood or fallen over time. To the church where my parents were married and my grandparents were remembered. And I realized that this drive, these places that are as much a part of me as my own home, would soon be a part of my past.
I’m sure you’ve liked them too. Those posts from your friends who are at the gym at 4:30 on a Tuesday morning, documenting their dedication at an hour no human should be awake, much less coherent. Good for you, brother, but I am not that motivated. Or the weight loss posts from your friends who have been following the latest diet trend and encouraging you to try it too. You’re awesome, woman, but there is no way I’m giving up wine and dark chocolate. I am the first in line to laud the success of my friends. Truly, I’m happy they are on their way to taking better care of themselves and they inspire me to do the same. But every time I click the thumbs up, I think about how ironic it is that we, as a collective society, never document the events that got us to the gym or on the diet in the first place. Why don’t we post photos of our stressed-out selves on the couch at 10pm eating a bag of chips or a pan of brownies (my personal preference) or in the McDonalds drive thru getting a Big Mac, fries & a giant Coke for second breakfast? I think because we know those choices aren’t to be celebrated. And perhaps we regret making them too.
I stood in the middle of St. Mark’s Square surrounded by pigeons and cell phones. A sea of people hoping to capture the elusive perfect photo of themselves amidst some of the most beautiful architecture and artwork in the world. Self absorption was no where more apparent to me than that weekend in Venice last fall. Dozens and dozens of people flitting from place to place just to post themselves all over social media. Hashtag “me me me.” Never mind the thousands of years of history surrounding them that has stood and will stand long after they’re gone. As if they give it meaning by their fleeting presence.
It would come in waves, this feeling of darkness overtaking me. I would lie in bed, deep in sleep when I felt it covering me, like a heavy hand, pushing me, sinking me, deeper and deeper into an abyss of blackness. I knew whatever it was, whatever was trying to smother me, was evil. And I knew I needed to fight with everything in me to escape it. So I fought to wake up and when I did, I’d be covered in sweat, my heart beating out of my chest, with a fear so intense I could only whisper the name of my Savior. But whisper I did and eventually, my heart would calm, peace would come in and sleep would return.