I’m on vacation this week. It’s that funny kind of vacation you take because you need to use the time, but the rest of your family isn’t off work and school, and so you stay home and somewhat connected. I actually don’t mind it, and it means that there is time with family and time without family (and maybe I can clean the garage and the office).
Nancy works with teen moms every couple of weeks with some other people from our church, providing a meal and a speaker and some time in community. I came along because it means I get to ride with Nancy. I didn’t, however, want to spend time in my office (while on vacation) so I came over to my ‘hiding place’. It’s a house attached to the church building, and this room has big windows and is light and airy (in spite of 1970’s orange carpeting).
I brought a bowl of chili and sat at the desk eating and reading.
If you have read closely, you have realized that there are large windows and that it is night time. As a result, in this very private place, my eating is on display to the parking lot, the houses in the neighborhood, the people driving by. And I’m eating chili, with melted cheese.
As I wiped my chin for the 8th time, I realized that this is exactly what happens when many of us are involved with social media. We sit in a private place, blocking out the distractions and chaos. We engage in writing, which, while social when we want an audience or a conversation, is still rooted in our own soul, in our own heart. Particularly for the more reflective of us, we are digging into us, in a very private way. And then, as soon as we hit ‘publish’ or ‘update’ or ‘post’–everyone can see. They can see the unrefined thoughts dripping down our chins. They can hearing the slurping of our impolite attitudes. Many more people than we ever thought can see more of us than we ever desired.
The secret to avoiding mortification is to acknowledge the windows and, though not performing for them, live out in a way that knows that people are watching. After all, it was my choice to not pull down the blinds in the same way that it is my choice to write with my heart on the screen.
Many of us are trying to live in a community way. It’s risky and scary and sometimes quite messy. But I’m not often lonely, sitting in the window, alone.