Lately I've received several notices saying that So-and-So has added me as their friend on Facebook and will I accept? I feel honored,flattered and pressured all at the same time. But...
I don't do Facebook. Here's why:
1. It would embarrass my kids.
2. I would rather invest my life in face-to-face community.
3. I fear delusion.
My kids think it's creepy for people "my age" (over 40) to be on Facebook. They begged me to please never start, and so far I have respected their wishes. It's not that I let them run the show, it's just that I have other pseudo-satisfying outlets for communicating.
When I told one of my 40-something friends that my kids objected, she told me they should just "get over it." She said she mainly does Facebook as a way for her to stay connected to her nieces and nephews at college as well as find out what her kids and their friends are putting out there. I could see her point. But my extended family members who want to know what's going on with us? They don't read my blog unless I remind them about it. People on Paul's side of the family email if they want to know something. My side of the family prefers phone calls or-- get this--a handwritten letter. Seriously! My sister in Arizona emailed me last week bemoaning the fact that I haven't sent her a long, handwritten letter since she-can't-remember-when. She said she loved the days I would send her five or six pages of my life and make her laugh. Got that? She EMAILED me asking me to HANDWRITE her a letter. She laughed when I pointed out the irony.
My resistance to doing Facebook goes far deeper than not wanting to embarrass my kids. (I have never been afraid to use my talents in that area.) What it boils down to is this: I both long for community and fear delusion. I don't feel nearly as connected to people as I did before the internet, back when people did Face, not Facebook. Face was, you know, face-to-face get-togethers in our homes? We actually talked, not typed, our thoughts. We could hear each other laugh or cry; we didn't use emoticons. Our lives were no less busy. For goodness sakes, I had three kids in four years; I didn't get to eat a hot meal unless I drove through McDonald's.
The fear of delusion is that vague, haunting sense of getting sucked into a virtual world where I've carefully crafted the face I want others to see--and vice versa. I want to be known and accepted, but if you truly knew me, would you accept me? I can be so ugly sometimes. Ask the people in my real world (my family). They don't get the scheduled and edited blog post. They get the real-time rough draft. Sometimes they like me, sometimes they don't. By the same token, I want to know people as they really are (I think). I am sure I have a lot of masked acquaintances. Do I like their masks? Or am I unable to know the difference between their face and their mask? Am I deluded, and happily so?
First Corinthians 13 gives me hope that someday all our masks will come off.
Facebook won't exist.
Email will be history.
Blogging will be null and void.
We shall see Him face-to-face, and know even as also we are known. No hiding. No delusions. No doubt of His acceptance. I will see His face and His book, where my name is written, not on His wall but on His hands.