Tuesday, August 28, 2012

things are not...

...as they seem.

I posted a Facebook status last week where I poked fun at my horrible day.  My youngest broke a new blender and I yelled.  I got distracted while my oldest was watching a YouTube video that included cussing and some not-so-great advice.  I was annoyed by the onslaught of happy, giddy, gag-me posts that have been filling my newsfeed for days, weeks, ever.  The response to my "keepin' it real" post was overwhelming.  

Can someone explain why we wish happy birthday to our children who are not on Facebook?  Like our two-year-olds?!

Why do we post lovey-dovey messages to our spouses but not ugly fight retorts?  (You were such a jerk to me last night and I'm withholding sex tonight.)

I wonder how many single moms feel deep pain when we boast in the gifts, flowers, and chocolates our awesome husbands give us.

Wow, that is a huge engagement ring.  But I have single friends whose ache for a husband is often crippling and you just reminded them of their very stinging pain, emptiness, and loneliness.  

Really, your morning sickness is terrible?  Poor you, to have a healthy baby growing in your belly!  Do you know what I would give to have a healthy baby in my womb?

Oh, and another sleepless night with a newborn?  I had a baby two months ago and her heart wasn't beating.  I would sever a limb just to be able to wake up every hour throughout the night with her.

I struggle constantly with comparison, insecurity, and frustration in just about every area of life: my parenting, my wife-ing, my weight, my contentment or lack thereof, my menu planning and grocery shopping, my addictions, laziness, and bad habits.  The list goes on. I have a feeling most, if not all, of us come to Facebook at somewhat low moments to find a little escape from our weakness.  

Only to be reminded that everyone else's life is perfect.  And full.  And organic.  Organized.  Blissfully serene.  Filled with artsy Instagram photos.  

For Olivia's memorial, I got pearl pink balloons to line the sidewalk to our front door.  The idea was inspired by Pinterest.  I love this look and wanted the "feeling" in this photo to set the stage for our goodbyes.  (Courtesy of Sweet Rose Studio.)  

As we began to replicate, I realized quickly that this is a snapshot on an apparently calm day - no wind, no breeze, not a breath in the air.  The reality was that our balloons moved and swayed and bent left and right and twisted and tangled.  We scrapped the idea when we realized that it was not practical, pretty, or everything I had imagined.

The beauty in this photo communicates something that just isn't true.  Snapshots and statuses are too often the result of the impression we want to give to others.  We place the idea that we want in people's heads of our lives, marriages, homes, character, and personality.  

I have to remember that every time a wife gloats about her husband's character, there are a dozen moments she doesn't honor or trust him.  That for every ultrasound picture showing a growing baby, there are a dozen women who struggle with infertility and infant loss.  I have to remember that out of a hundred pins on Pinterest, a wife with kids will probably only actually make one recipe and maybe, just maybe, do one DIY project.  That for every photo of cute kids in trendy outfits, there are a lot of un-captured moments of yelling, meanness, and impatience with our kids.

Welcome back to my messy little corner of the world.  I hope you feel in good company here.    


Anonymous said...

I so enjoy reading your blog entries. Your honesty is a breath of fresh air!

Kelli said...

I think it's important to remember that people are often simply sharing their joys and sometimes sorrows. No one is trying to remind a single woman that she isn't married yet. I think she is probably reminded of that everyday in some way. And no one is trying to remind a mom that she unexpectedly lost her child when they complain about sleepless nights. We are all human and desire empathy and encouragement when things are hard (sleepless nights) and celebration when things are good (an engagement).
If we withheld our joys and our sorrows because of how they might hurt or upset someone else then there would be no community as Christ intended. We post about our two-year-old's birthday because we want others to celebrate that wonderful child with us. We announce the loss of a loved one because we desire others to grieve and pray with us.
Yes, there are a lot of fake and bragging posts out there that could use a lot more reality in them, but I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the comparison and insecurity issues that so many of us have. It's a heart issue. How we respond to what we read, hear and see is our issue to work through. We should never lament the joy someone else has because we don't have that same joy. There will always be false realities presented in our society whether or not it comes through Facebook or some other medium.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Heather. That is an amazing post! I think it's so true that we try to present things as we would like them to ideally be, but that is only a miniscule snapshot in the true breadth of reality. Hope you guys are doing good.

Justin Webb