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In Defense of Social Media

 

 

Okay, yes.  I know social media is an obsession and I know too many of us are fastened to our phones.  I also get that we are presenting an overly stylized version of our lives.  I don’t have to prove to anyone that our technology often outpaces our good sense. How many pictures do we need to see of your kid eating avocado?  But, still…I remain unapologetically happy that millions of people are recording evidence of their existence, and their children and even their coffee.

 

 

I mean, you want to love your beautiful latte and remember how it looked next to your leather journal?  Fantastic. I’m with you.  Actually, I am you!  I remember a day last year, right after Steve went on hospice when I,  feeling broken and beaten, stumbled into my favorite little cafe and ordered a cappuccino.  I actually only ever drink plain, black coffee, but I ordered a cappuccino because I knew my friend, Mekenzie, would make it look lovely and on that one day, it was the only lovely I had.  It’s what I could hold and look at and hope into.  Here’s what I posted on my instagram account that day:

 

 

 

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I captioned it, “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy this.”  It took its place next to the millions of other pictures of coffee cups that day, but this one is mine.  It represents a breakthrough of hope on a truly hopeless day. It means nothing to anyone else, but it means about a thousand things to me and – honestly – I owe it to a social media-obsessed generation.  They’ve taught me to look at small things with big love. They’ve taught me to preserve moments of life in the face of death.  They’ve taught me to scan for beauty and capture it.  And, yep, they’ve taught me that sometimes it’s okay to wrap sharp edges in gauzy, grace-y filters.

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I went through my instagram account, poring over pictures of Steve and grandboys and trail runs and sandwiches that made my heart sing.  Some were well-liked by those who follow me, others were barely noticed, but you wannna know what?  I don’t regret a single one.  Each photo sang a special song to me of a really brutal and beautiful season.  In fact, my only regret was that I hadn’t taken more – and the reason I didn’t was because I worried that I would annoy people.  I feared showing a piece of my life that seemed unworthy of the bandwidth, but now I understand there is no such thing.  Not for me and not for you.  Our lives are worthy and wonderful. And they may, in fact, annoy other people, but I am here to tell you: I will be a witness to your existence.  I will cheer the big moments in your life like weddings and vacations and I will love the small moments like that baby and that avocado.  I will love that picture of your open Bible, even if you didn’t have time to read it.

 

 

And I can’t linger long over your photos, but I will watch and wave as they go by and wish you a meaningful journey –   on your perfectly filtered family days and on the deeply dark and un-photographed ones.  Because, friend, you matter. You matter much.

 

 

As for me, I am taking a photo every day which I am tagging #ProjectYestoLife.  I have no plan each day for what I will snap, all I know is that it will be something I said (or am saying) yes to.  I will record this year – still brutal, still beautiful, still standing, and I hope you’ll wave as my moments go by, but I won’t be sad if you don’t.  Because this is my Yes and only I can say it and live it.  In the end, I just want to remember that I did.

 

Here’s my question today: how are you recording your life? Words? Photos? Photo albums? Choreographed dance?  I’d love to know!

 

With so much hope and so much Yes,

 

Bo

March 18, 2016 - 8:57 am

Patty - Thank you for this! My kids have been encouraging me to get instagram and I’ve been resisting because I don’t want to be annoying but actually I know I would have fun recording life this way. So that will be my next “yes” as I love recording life through photos. Some days my yes is just getting out of bed (thanks to kids needing to get to school!). Next month is the big one year mark of my hubby’s first day in heaven and most days I still feel stuck floundering in “what now”, getting little accomplished outside of the mundane tasks of every day living. Your words help me gain better perspective of my own feelings and pushing through them in this crazy journey!

March 18, 2016 - 9:04 am

bo - Oh, Patty – PLEASE link me to your instagram account. I want to witness this year of your life!

March 18, 2016 - 9:07 am

ci - I cannot say ‘yes and amen!’ enough to this! Thanks for putting into beautiful words the beauty to be found in the every day-ness of our life. More often than not, we have to search for the beauty and hope, and memories recorded remind us of all that He has given.

March 18, 2016 - 12:08 pm

Angela - Bo-thank you for your honesty, hope, transparency, and good ole fun. After loosing my precious Michael Spencer at the age of 27 (2 years ago tomorrow), my life has taken twists and turns that were unexpected. I too have joined IG; I’m currently working on living in the here and now, enjoying every moment I can, and reaching out to others in hopes of bringing much needed and unspoken healing❤️❤️❤️❤️ Great blog today.
Ps my youngest son loves your blog and has found hope and healing as well:)

March 18, 2016 - 1:03 pm

Patty - Ok…instagram done…it is clearly going to involve a learning curve and I can’t figure out how to link to you! My daughter is trying to help me….I’m feeling my age! But my user name is “theotherpattysmith” so maybe you can link me that way. (you don’t have to post this, I just wanted to give you my username since I’m so techno challenged in linking you!)

March 18, 2016 - 3:54 pm

Darleen - Oh my gosh this made me cry too!!!! You are linked to my soul through social-media and I am so excited to get to be encouraged by your hope and amazing outlook on life each day now! Thank you so much for what you have given permission to in a world of trying to put the phone down! I am going to start taking pictures now and letting social media be an avenue to opening a documentary of my life as mundane as it seems…Much love to you sister Bo!

March 18, 2016 - 9:14 pm

Jody Collins - Bo, I document my life–and my children’s and grandchildren’s–on Facebook and Instagram, both of which I am eternally grateful for. (yes I ended that with a preposition).
Your take on this subject is very refreshing–I like the idea of #ProjectYesToLife–I’ll be looking and waving.

March 19, 2016 - 2:09 pm

Marlys Johnson - Beautifully said … as always!

March 20, 2016 - 10:46 am

Kelly Rompel - This is beautiful! I’ve struggled with this very same thing of considering to share but wondering what others would be annoyed by. No more. Life is worth living and sharing, not for who receives but for the very fact that I can give. We all can give and share. Thank you Bo for living your life.