It is the day of the internet, of social media, and Facebook messages that are simply too good…to be true.
It’s Christmas day, of course. You can tell.
Once upon a time you knew by the sounds of sleigh bells, I guess, but I personally never heard them.
Church bells and choirs. Carolers going door to door to share a tune of the season – and then a warm beverage on a frosty night.
When I was little my parents got me a story book entitled, The Night Before Christmas, and from age four to about eight I literally wore that book out, first asking people to read to me…and then from reading it myself.
Now, well, there’s not much of that anymore. You know it’s the holidays from Facebook and the messages that people post about themselves, a review of their lives from the past year, and a promise to stay in touch more often during the new year.
It’s easier than making the effort to physically go visit someone. We’re all too busy, you know…the obligatory buying, wrapping, and Christmas Day “drive bys”. Now…you just Facebook. Send a greeting and hope as many as possible read it.
Some are true, sincere. Many…are probably not!
The problem with Facebook is that you forget who you’ve friended when you post this stuff. You forget that there are actually some out there who know when they read your message…that much of it’s embellished.
I smiled yesterday at several received, and in a couple of cases, from people with whom I’ve spent time during 2016. I read with interest as they shared their hardships and triumphs, and how blessed they feel to have come through it a better person. Funny, I was just with one of them just a month ago and they were telling a different story then.
Complaints about the ex-wife, the kids, the parents and the ever-present ‘trust fund’. “Man, I really need some capital, but my money’s tied up in that trust until the kids are a certain age.”
Insincerity abounds in America…in mankind.
The most genuine message received this holiday was from a friend in Texas who shared that his father had passed on Monday. “I know you knew him,” he said. “I thought you’d want to know. Have a good time with your kids this week.”
Compare that to another telling about how the new job is promising, “and people tell me they’ve never been more inspired than to have worked with me on the project.” Really? A month ago that person shared that they were frantically applying for different employment and sending resumes’ by the boxful.
The kids are all healthy and happy, of course. But the reality is their marriage is busted, the daughter is pregnant, single, and moving home; and the dad is under indictment for trafficking.
I personally don’t send Facebook messages for the holidays. I kind of like my privacy, and like others, I can’t remember who’s out there who might know the real truth about the kind of year I’ve had. The ones that really matter, the ones that you’d bet your life on…those you pick up the phone and call.
That friend in Texas; one in Minnesota…or New York.
‘I drink too much, and my cholesterol is 300” said one this week. “I haven’t reconciled with my son yet, and I’m still depressed over the election. Dad’s 88 now and can barely walk, his knees are so bad. I have to shave him every morning now, too. All he wants to do is die.”
“Hang in there,” I said.
“I know,” he answered, probably not so sure if he would. “I just wanted you to know the truth.”
Oh, that more people did.
And lest you think that this is all too dark, or bleak? Consider my neighbor kid who mows the hay behind my house in the summer. He stopped by this week with a box of pretzels.
“Was thinking of you,” he said. “Wanted to bring you these for Christmas. Hope you have a good holiday,”
Nothing more. No ‘life’s great’. And no triumphant diatribe over what he’s endured this year. There was no, ‘Man, I bet you wish you were more like me.’ He just shook my hand and went on to his next stop.
Merry Facebook Christmas!