Facebook is the new Christmas letter.
On Facebook we present the sanitized version of ourselves and our families. Just like the Christmas letter of old—and the dinner parties and garden parties before that—we brag on our kids, talk about our latest vacations, announce our good news.
But behind the curtain, everyone has a story of pain.
Maybe it’s a chronic illness.
A broken heart.
A family dysfunction.
A looming bill without the money to pay it.
A befuddled or weary mind.
A difficult job.
A hurting (or hurtful) child.
A secret fear.
An exhaustion that settles in the bones.
An emotional wound.
A deep grief.
Whatever it is, we all have a painful story. And maybe we shouldn’t spill it across Facebook or in our Christmas letters, but we should remember those stories exist.
And not just for me and you, but for everyone.
If I can remember, I will (hopefully) be kinder, gentler, slower to speak or offer advice, but quicker to listen or give a hug or offer a prayer, right there and then.
At was Girl Scout Sunday at church this past week. They recited this prayer from St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
I need to be kinder.
How about you?