At the end of August, I was DONE with summer. Too much heat. Too much humidity. WAY too many mosquito bites.” I can’t wait for fall,” I thought to myself.” Crisp weather. Cozy sweaters. Huddling around the fireplace. Fall can’t come soon enough.” And then, just a few days later, the temperature dropped, my two youngest kids got sick, and I suddenly remembered the trouble with cold weather: the little ones spend most of fall and winter with runny noses and coughs. “Ugh,” I thought to myself, “here we go again.” The grass is always greener, after all.
It occurred to me that this feeling of always wanting something different from what I have is a big reason that I’m drawn to social media. When I think about it, I know that I’m incredibly blessed – my life is full of wonderful people and wonderful things. And yet, so often, when I’m with the people that I love, I feel a pull to run to this other world that exists online.
What’s so appealing about the online sphere? The possibilities, I think. Anyone from anywhere could be in touch at any moment. Who will retweet next? Comment next? Thumbs up next? At the end of the day, though, even the nicest message from the biggest fan or an interview request from the most prestigious media outlet can’t compare to what I have with the *real* people in my real life. And yet, unless I stop myself, and force myself to appreciate what I have right here and now, the pull is constantly towards online.
Despite all of the amazing blessings that I have, my life is not perfect. And so when I daven (pray) each day, I daven for the difficult parts of my life to change. For the obstacles to be removed. For better opportunities to arise. But it occurred to me recently, that just as I must force myself to appreciate what I have in my real life over my online life, I must also change the way that I pray to reflect this concept.
I can’t only pray that my reality will change. I need to pray, that I will change. That I will have the strength to overcome whatever difficulties are thrown my way for as long as they come. Intellectually, I believe that whatever God gives me is ultimately for my good, but if I’m so busy asking for things to be different, am I truly internalizing this idea?
I will continue to go online, just as I will continue to pray for life to be less difficult, but I’m committing to a change. I will begin my prayers each day, first asking for strength to endure the challenges that I face before I ask for the challenges to go away. I will also start shutting down my laptop and smart phone during family time and try to best to not even wonder what might be happening online while I’m with my kids. I will even try to appreciate the cold weather and all the challenges it will bring: sick children, high heating bills, being trapped for days on end with restless children after a blizzard. (OK, maybe I’m not ready to appreciate all of that just yet.)