Facebook became a Real Thing around the time I began my late life career of coaching and mentoring. I welcomed all comers, thrilled to connect and/or reconnect with kindred spirits from near and far. In the ensuing years, I’ve stopped by FB infrequently, and I hardly ever pulled up a chair to stay a while.
Why? My Friended Folk list is a bloated blend of more than 65 years of friendships, extended family, interesting people I met at a retreat or on a shuttle bus, or others I’ve never met but who are a part of my tribe of Wayfinders or coaches or yogis. It’s a weird mix of public presence (meaning I may not know the friend personally) and a longer friendship or deeper connection.
Over time, my more private and introverted self has been getting hives even THINKING about the trip to Facebook. At the root are many old stories in which I protect my internal life from public inspection. I would be overwhelmed. Then I would lose my inner life. They wouldn’t like to know this about me. On and on.
I’ve also had many opinions about all the promotion I need to wade through to get to authentic connection on Facebook. And this was all before the political climate of the last year. It’s been getting so that a trip to FB is like enduring a visit to my great Aunt Mabel’s house. All the clutter made the air too heavy to breathe, so I stayed away.
Then last week my mom died. My first thought was to keep my grief close in, to pray and meditate and watch for dreams and listen for her presence and create little grief rituals for myself. This has long been my way of dealing with deep stuff. But in this case, there were so many demands and arrangements and people to inform that the first couple of days I spent most of my time on the phone. I could barely feel that particular frozen feeling of tears waiting to escape.
After the first day, I had the house to myself. I had intended to bathe in the solitude. But something led me to Facebook. Amazing luck, distraction, divine guidance. Who knows.
I posted a question about why people describe the loss of a mother as “huge.” And, sure enough, I was overwhelmed. A good kind of overwhelmed. I read each response and every little heart emoji, and I imagined their faces in front of me as I read. Each time, the tears flowed freely in the privacy of some inner Oasis.
My FBF’s surrounded me in a blanket of love. They shared their beliefs and experiences. Some were so grateful that she was in the bosom of Jesus. Others envisioned the Light of Pure Being (which, in my mind, is Jesus). There was always such wisdom and kindness in their words. Something deep and true was triggered, a kind of thawing. Tears flowed in awe of the powerful bond that transcends time and space.
One of my FBF’s and deep friends from long ago wrote This is Facebook at its best.