Sunday, June 29, 2014

What Facebook does to me (and for me).

It's not enough that Facebook is always changing. Every time you get used to the way it acts on whatever device you are using, there's an upgrade and it becomes different. I can live with that. I guess they are sincerely trying to improve it. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

That's not the purpose of this blog post. I'm talking about what it does to me and for me personally. When I joined Facebook, I really didn't understand social media at all. I knew my son and his friends were all on it, and it seemed like a good way to stay in touch with family and friends. My list of "friends" has grown and grown since then, and for the most part, I am happy about that.

So I'll tell you what it does "to" me first:

Sometimes it makes me as mad as hell.

I don't like the spam that attacks and shows me things I don't want to see.

I get tired of people (whether or not it's intentional) "sharing" things that they have not really vetted before they post them. I've done it and been embarrassed, so I am not pointing fingers. It taught me to try to be more cautious.

I don't like reading folks' personal dramas on Facebook, and I don't like when people don't pay attention to a thread and say something off the wall in a comment. PM me or post on my timeline if there is something you want me to know. (I'm pretty sure I haven't done this to others, but I couldn't swear to it!) 

Sometimes it makes me laugh out loud.

Reading stuff on Facebook has made me realize that people are really funny. People have great senses of humor, and I love that.

Sometimes it surprises and shocks me.

You find out things about people you never wanted to know, usually because they don't have the good sense to keep it off social media. (I can't swear I haven't disappointed someone on Facebook myself, but I hope not.) 

Sometimes it makes me cry (and pray).

When you hear about loss- death, illness, tragedy, disaster- it can really get to you and make you count your blessings and pray for others. We need each other in this world, and this social media can be a wonderful way to reach out in love and through prayer.

So,  here's what Facebook does "for" me.

I live away from my family and a lot of my childhood friends, so I get to "see" them and "talk" to them way more because of it.

It shows me Christ in others. People have supported me and my family so beautifully when I share about Lauren, and sharing her through Facebook is no exception. I can feel the prayers lifting me up on her birthday, on Mother's Day and on the anniversary of her death. People who never met her, and sometimes haven't even met me,  offer their love and support through this medium and it is a gift to us.

This crazy Facebook thing has connected me to my "universal" family of faith in a way that could never have happened without it. I have countless "Catholic" friends all over the U.S. that I have never met, and yet I feel so close to them. I have a friend in Australia and priest friends in Africa and Canada that I will probably never meet in person, but I feel close to those folks as if I knew them, because we share one faith.

One more thing, silly as it is. I love being able to say "Happy Birthday" to people on Facebook. I try to do that every day, and when it's my birthday, that gesture comes back in spades! It makes you feel so good to see those birthday wishes out there.

So, whether or not I always like it, it is a big part of my life- I can't deny that! It can be a lifeline to people and a tool to spread love if you let it.

I am thankful for all of my Facebook friends, whether we live in the same town or whether we are a world apart.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Manic May

May was a crazy month this year. We observed the 10th anniversary of Lauren's death. There were reminders of our grief, fun times with family and friends, graduations, weddings, a conference and a trip to the beach. During all of the craziness, there was one evening that really touched me.

A young man in our parish is working on his Eagle Scout project, and he decided to refurbish our grotto. He enlisted the help of church members, his family and others to help in the project. He raised money for the project and the results were spectacular. 

Fr. Greg Schill, SCJ rededicated the grotto one lovely evening last month. For Catholics, the month of May is special. It is the month in which we honor the Blessed Mother. At the beginning of the month, the children crown our beautiful statue of Mary and we sing a song for her at each mass. 

I had the pleasure of photographing the rededication. One of the photos I took really touched me once I saw it. As we were getting ready for people to arrive, I was photographing the grotto and took this photo of Fr. Greg as he prepared himself for the service.

It seems as though the Blessed Mother is watching over him. I feel like she watches over us all. She knows my grief first hand, and I find great comfort in her example of humility and her willingness to be a servant. 

You can view the other photographs on our Facebook page at It is in our photo albums.