Scrolling through life. Yes, you read that right— not strolling, but SCROLLING. Isn’t that what we do. Our thumb scrolls through life, post after post after post through our social media feeds. Within minutes, we can “Like” a picture, “Love” a post, “Laugh” at a funny meme, get “Angry” at some political post we don’t like, feel impressed with something so much that we have to “Wow” it, and even “Cry” over something we find sad. Within minutes, our eyes and our thumbs have allowed us to feel 6 different emotions. Talk about an emotional roller coaster ride.
But, the thing is, we aren’t TRULY feeling those deep emotions to the core. We aren’t making those real deep connections. In a world where it is easy to “love” a dog video, and in two seconds feel the sad emotions of seeing a picture of a starving child on Facebook, how does our brain even begin to process those feelings? And after we love the video, or “sad face” the picture, 3 seconds later it tends to disappear from our mind and our emotions and we don’t think about it again. We keep on scrolling.
On Facebook, we are able to see posts from many different people, including our family members, best friends, work friends, aquaintances, or that person you once met, but would run the other way if you saw them in the grocery store (we all have that ONE connection on Facebook). Oh and then there are the people who we connect with because we have similar connections, but we have never actually met them in real life, so when we do ACTUALLY MEET we already know everything about them but have never actually met FACE to FACE. #awkward
My point is, not only do we need to decide within seconds how we feel about a certain post, but also about how we feel about the person who posted it! #brainoverload
And after we read the posts—- we continue to scroll. Just scrolling through life. Our thumb doing all the work. Post after post after post.
Ok – so don’t get me wrong —- I DO LOVE social media! As a busy mom, I don’t always find the time to catch up with people the way I did before marriage, job, kids etc. But on Facebook or Instagram, I get to do that. Social media allows me to celebrate with a friend when she has her baby, or congratulate another friend on a new job! Social media allows me to see updates on my nieces and nephews. I get to travel with friends on their vacations and see the world through the eyes of others. All great things.
As the social media contributor to our Nonprofit Pink Box Purpose, social media is important. It allows us to share the lives of women in third world countries and what they experience when they don’t have anything to use to manage their periods.
But— social media somehow misses that connection piece. And this is the part I struggle with the most. How do I get you to not just scroll by? How do I get you to connect with that woman. To connect with her story in such a way that it fully breaks your heart and you think about that woman all day long. You don’t just “like” “love” or “cry” about her story and scroll on, but it truly sits with you through out the day. How do we make those connections with others?
How do I get you to connect with the girl who is 13 years old, who writes you a note because she is too ashamed to explain her story out loud. The words “I can’t go to school” hurt her too much to say the actual words. So she writes it on a piece of paper. She hands it to you with tears in her eyes, because she knows her future. She knows in her community that girls her age are already married and having babies. But she has dreams to continue to learn. She isn’t ready yet to get married. She isn’t ready yet to share a bed with a man. She isn’t ready yet to have a baby. So young. She knows that childbirth could possibly kill her. But she doesn’t have a choice. So she hands you the note, with tears in her eyes, hoping you can say something. Hoping you can change it. Hoping that there is still HOPE for her. So, how in the world do I get you to connect with her? For your heart to break in two for her without scrolling by?
How do I get you to connect to the woman who is my age— 34. You can see it in her eyes. The shame. She looks down at her feet and tears fall from her eyes as she explains she was married at age 14. A man from the mountains who was 42 came and married her. Every day of her life he beats her. Every single day he rapes her. She looks down again with shame. She doesn’t feel like she can accept Jesus because she feels too much shame, and she doesn’t know the kind of Jesus yet that I do. The kind that will love her and accept her for who she is. The one who shed his blood for her. She doesn’t know him. So she weeps. I hold her and ask her why she doesn’t leave and she tells me that she can’t— because she dropped out of school a long time ago. She doesn’t know how to write her name, so how can she find the bus station if she cannot read? How can she get a job? She is trapped. How do I get you to connect with her?
How do I get you to connect with the woman who has stage 4 ovarian cancer in Honduras? Women who use unsanitary items in third world countries when they have their periods tend to get more infections, which can ultimately lead to things like ovarian cancer. And as she sits across the table sharing her story, crying, how do I get you to connect with her in that moment. She talks about how her treatments are $180 and because she doesn’t have a job or a husband she cannot afford the treatments. She knows that without them she will die, leaving her two beautiful girls alone in this world. How do I share her story with you in a way that you can connect with her? How do I get her to stay with you?
How do I connect you with the woman whose husband is an alcoholic and she fears for herself and her children because he is angry when he drinks. She asks for prayers and as our mission team lays our hands on her shoulders to pray, she lets out sobs of exhaustion. She has been holding this family secret in for so long, but it was time to give it to God. And she does. And she cries uncontrollable cries.
I can’t share with you the smells. I can’t share with you how my eyes water because of the smog that fills the air. I don’t know how to connect you with the feeling of their embraces as you distribute pads for them. Such a simple thing— but they know that this simple thing will change their lives. And I struggle with finding a way to allow you to connect with these women and girls on such a deeper level. I know by posting on social media, it is one of the only tools I have to share their stories, but I also know I have hundreds of others posts I will need to “compete” with for attention through out the day.
And so we scroll. I do it too. I’m guilty every day of the scrolling. I have tried to be more intentional about it. To allow my brain to process what I am seeing. Maybe write a comment, or send a private message to that friend congratulating her on her new job. Being more intentional. If something stops me in my tracks, makes me sad, or breaks my heart, I look it up and research it more. I try to find as much information as I can. Often times the things that break my heart and sit with me are problems in the world I didn’t even realize were happening. I have tried to make an effort to be truly intentional about my “scrolling”. The truth is, I don’t want to just “scroll” through life. I want to make a bigger impact than that. Each of us has the opportunity to do that. Whether it is a quick message to a friend, a congratulatory text, or a simple prayer for that starving child you see on Facebook— try to take that extra second to truly connect with what you are seeing, and allow it to sit with you for just a couple extra seconds before you scroll on.