During the last week I have seen a number of things on Facebook that have disturbed me deeply. So much in fact that I have seriously contemplated just “unliking” everything and resigning myself to missing out on the good stuff, just so I didn’t have to face the bad. I’m not going to repeat any of the things that bothered me…why should you all have to suffer as well? If you’re on FB then I’m sure you’ve seen enough yourselves. What I don’t understand is why? Why go on to a page only to spread hate and meanness wherever you go? Why set out to deliberately hurt the feelings of people you don’t even know? How can anyone justify that in the name of their religious beliefs?
How does it make them feel, when they write something like that? Do they feel strong and powerful, like they have achieved some kind of victory over their opponents? Opponents who all too often don’t even know that they’re at war. I know that the bad is only a very small percentage of the people who are on FB. I know that most of the people I have met on-line are lovely, sincere and honest, reaching out across vast distances with the hand of friendship. I know that I shouldn’t let that small minority spoil the friendships that are inspiring and valued. But it’s hard.
I can honestly admit that I can have a pretty bad temper, that sometimes I get really mad at these people who I don’t even know and threaten them with all kinds of bodily harm. I am often reduced to yelling at the computer screen, decrying the fact that these people are smart enough to use a computer, but not smart enough to think about whether or not they should.
And then I catch myself, I stop and I am forced to remind myself that it is not my place to judge them. That my anger at them passing judgement has caused the very same flaw that I am upset about. I remind myself of a very good piece of advice I once heard: The things that bother you the most about other people are probably the things that you need to work on yourself.
No matter what our religious persuasion, we are all deeply flawed human beings. Not a single one of us is perfect…certainly not me. Although we try our best, we so very often fall short of our aspirations. I know that I do, much more often than I would like. So, for the rest of February I am going to refrain from yelling at those people who annoy me. I am going to take a deep breath and remind myself that I can’t know what they are dealing with today, that they might be having the worst day of their lives, and that I should treat them with the same kindness as I treat those I love.
That’s my Valentine.