Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Facebook is like these chips I'm eating

This house is on a diet . . . (but I can't call it a "diet" because then I get all rebellious and just want to eat all the time) . . . I'm trying to cook healthy, not buying junk . . . you get the idea . .. so I've started buying "baked" potato chips . . . they look like potato chips, they act like potato chips, but they don't work. There's nothing there.  And they only make me want the real thing.  It's like eating ice and calling it ice cream.  Or commenting on facebook and calling it conversation.

I can't decide how I feel about facebook.  Lately I'm just really annoyed with the whole thing, likely because I spend A LOT of time nursing or bouncing a fussy baby, I can't get anything else done and so I gravitate toward the computer . . .  it's mindless, distracting, and feels like fellowship but it's NOT, and leaves me feeling anxious, distracted, and unsatisfied.

I think that the most frustrating thing about facebook is seeing all of these people I love . . . nearly everybody I've ever known . .. all right there . . . popping up in my feed with these neat little sentences . . . and yet they're still so unreachable, we're still so distant from one another and a 420 character status update tells me very little,  only makes me miss the person more . . . and hungry for real, authentic relationships and stimulating conversation.
"...people have developed less a sense of community than a loneliness which they attempt to assuage by being with other people constantly, and on a superficial level only." -M.L'E
Feeling a bit more anchored to my house now with three kids, and a restlessness that comes with trying to console a fussy baby all day combined with the malnutrition of facebook has me thinking about and missing some of my richest times of conversation . . .

College, when meals lasted for hours and there were always friends around to talk to . . . the kind of freedom that comes during that time of life to be serious or never serious, grown-up but irresponsible, to talk as easily about deep things as about nothing and always laughing really hard.
A community, to be truly community, must have a quality of unselfconsciousness about it.  We knew that we were struggling to be Christian, and that we often failed, and we knew that we couldn't be community on our own, and so the grace of community was given to us.-M.L'E
Drinking coffee with my dear friend Sally . . . taking roadtrips together, making plans, dreaming big dreams . . . feeling inspired and understood.
Our communities are joyful and creative for me only when I can accept my own imperfections,  when I can rush out with my sins of omission and commission and hang them on the cross as I hang out the laundry. -M L'E
The friends I worked with as a waitress all those summers . . . that one golden summer when we never slept.
My moments of being most complete, most integrated, have come either in complete solitude or when I am being part of a body made up of many people going in the same direction.-M.L'E
When I lived in Haiti . . . staying up all night talking . . . spontaneous adventures . .. conversations over long dinners with some of the most inspiring people I have ever known . .. waking up in our tiny apartment with my sweet friend Shan , talking talking talking, making coffee when the electricity came on and talking . . . entire weekends spent playing Rook at the Murphy's and long debates and laughing . .. always laughing.

It is difficult for me not to make impossible demands on my communities as I sometimes make them on myself. . . It is difficult for me to accept that all my beloved communities are going to die, and that even while they exist there are incredible spaces between human beings, and even the closest.  And, despite my urgings toward community I will always be, like Abraham, a wanderer, far from home.  But the people who are most aware of their own impermanence are the most able to throw wide the doors of heart and hearth to a stranger, to hear his message, receive his blessing.-M.L'E  

The first conversation I had with my husband . .. I said hello in passing and left the coffee shop, stunned, two hours later . . . then talking on the phone for four hours and me hanging up amazed and unable to sleep . . . our second date to the art museum, and later sitting in a Mexican restaurant somehow discussing children, I said that if I had kids I think it's important to talk with them and reason with them rather than spanking, and he laughed and said he could imagine my blue-eyed daughter and me trying to reason with her . . . and now we have three blue-eyed daughters who are all unreasonable.
My love for my husband and his for me is in that unknown, underwater area of ourselves where our separations become something new and strange, merge and penetrate like the drops of water in the sea.  But we do not lose our solitudes, or our particularity, and we become more than we could alone.  This is mystery.  I cannot explain it. -M.L'E
. . . And yes, conversation can still happen and it does, occasionally . .. halting, and interrupted by crying or whining or questions every. two. minutes. . . . or me just so tired (why now does sleep seem so immensely important?) . . . or distracted by the dishes, the laundry, How-Did-The-Entire-Sandbox-End-Up-On-This-Floor?

The last time I attempted to talk on the phone for more than five minutes, this is what happened:
. . . Annie took a hammer to the wall . ..  sigh. . . however a rare chance to catch-up with Sally is totally worth it.

. . .And yes, I am thankful for the friends I have, for the bits of conversation we get during playdates, the rare moments when Jim and I can complete a sentence, the occasional Girls' Night Out . . . and I am thankful for blogs and yes, I suppose I am even thankful for facebook, unsatisfying as it may be . . . and I am thankful for these beautiful people I have known, and these beautiful memories I have of rich conversation and growing debate and soul-satisfying laughter . . . I cannot recreate these communities, but it this Irrational Season of life that I am in I can treasure whatever form of community I find . . . even if, on some days, it's facebook.
Today I must seek community in a different way. . . . In life as I live it today, community must have a new form.  I do not know what it will be, and I suspect that I won't know until memory tells me that I am having it right now without knowing it . . . 
(all quotes taken from The Irrational Season )


Kelly Langner Sauer said...

oh, I'm reading that book again right now too! this is just a wonderful post! it's late, so I'm out of gushing words... Or I'd gush. I get it. I love it.

Fijufic said...

Lovely post. You will look back on the hammer dings and remember them fondly...

Enjoy your family.


Ruth said...

Jess, this is the most beautiful post.

Janet said...

Your memories are beautiful. Don't write off the possibility of real community like that today too... new people, perhaps, but the same realness.

charrette said...

I read the title of this post and thought something clever and glib like, "Yes, facebook is like a potato chip because it's bad for you and yet you can't stop."

And then I read your entire post and it was so rich and rewarding(which is why I much prefer the blog world to the facebook solar system) and yet it is rather lovely to have and hold all those wonderful faces for the richness they can represent.

Heather of the EO said...

Yes. What Charrette said :) The lady I GOT TO MEET THIS PAST WEEKEND. Oh she's so lovely in person! I'm sure you assumed that.
I LOVE meeting blog friends in real life instead of just this community that's not face-to-face community. For the very reasons you spoke of here.
Love this.