I’ll let you in on a little secret. I care. Despite the determined, hard outward exterior I sometimes put on, words get to me. When someone directs hatefulness toward me or a loved one, I take it to heart. I will brood on it, spending way too much time trying to think if I did something to encourage it, or more importantly, could do anything to change the hater’s mind.
That’s the main reason I am taking a break from Facebook right now. I could no longer take the negativity in my newsfeed. Day after day, I was being bombarded with fake news, and posts by people angry at the world and taking it out on strangers. My primary source of social tech has been Instagram. I’ve cultivated a feed of mainly plant-based foodies, ultra runners and pet lovers. So, mostly all I see are positive, encouraging messages, colorful plates and puppy pics.
It was on the ‘Gram that I recently shared a post encouraging those of us fortunate enough to work from home, have good health and food in the fridge to live in gratitude. What I meant as an uplifting, heart-felt reminder to not take what we have for granted was mostly taken that way. Several followers commented their appreciation. But, one person took it far differently, and proceeded to attack me with comments. She felt that my post was tone deaf, I suppose. That I was bragging about the things I have while others, including her, suffered.
Now, many of you would say, “So what? It’s one person’s opinion.” And, perhaps that the way I should have taken it, too. But, it really got to me. My first response was to issue an immediate apology, and to try and explain my intent. That was met with crickets. I wanted to say, “Hey, don’t you dare judge me! You have no idea the things I’ve been through, or what I do behind the scenes to support others!” But, then I remembered a scripture buried in my brain from childhood bible school:
“..do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their full reward.” – Matthew 6:6
God knows my heart. I don’t have to shout it. He knows my struggles and that I’d give the shirt off my back if someone needed it. That’s how I was raised. My father was a police officer. My mother is a retired teacher. My brother is a fire captain, on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic right now. I know what it means to be in service to others.
Perhaps today, my service to others was to be the virtual punching bag for someone in pain. I can take it. Though far from perfect, I will continue to try and help. I will also try to be more sensitive to the feelings of those who are struggling.
What are some ways you share positivity and give support while socially distanced?