Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 and Facebook

Today, like so many Americans, I am feeling a bit melancholy. I believe this is the correct word for today. Incarta Dictionary says it means “a thoughtful or gentle sadness.” This isn’t the same kind of sadness that engulfed us in 2001. On that day we felt anguish, horror, fury, many other feelings. [What did you feel that day?] In 2001 we were not able to go on with our day or even our week. We were stunned. We were sick. We couldn’t function. It took a while before we could get back to business as usual, but eventually we did.

At church we’ve just finished studying Luke. I missed a few Sunday’s so finished reading on my own this week, chapter 24, including the story of the road to Emmaus. Some new insights opened up as I read this familiar passage, which I will write more about later. For today I include the reference because I think these two guys were feeling the way we were feeling on 9/11/01. They couldn’t talk about anything else except what had happened to Jesus, their hoped for, counted on king. They were confused about the far-fetched story that Jesus was now alive again. Then a fellow traveler interrupted their thoughts, took them back farther, helped them understand how the tragedy (the crucifixion was a tragedy AND a triumph) was part of God’s redemptive plan. The lights went on for them and their thinking changed. We only know the name of one (Cleopas) and we don’t hear anything about these two fellows again. But it’s fair to assume that eventually their lives were back to normal. A casual perusal of church history demonstrates that [although the course of history did change] there was a lot of life for regular people, including Jesus’ followers, that DID NOT change after His death and resurrection.

We all thought life would be completely different after 9/11. We thought that WE would be different, would think differently, would make different choices. We thought we would become more outward focused, think about ourselves much, much less and others much, much more. I know I did.

That is where Facebook comes in. I love Facebook. I love keeping up with people I rarely see and learn what people are doing. Just last week I had lunch with an old friend who I haven’t seen in years, but learned that she’d be in town because I’m friends with one of her friends on Facebook. Wonderful!!!

But I have to admit that I do have some frustrations with Facebook. I think that sometimes it feeds our natural human tendency for narcissism. It tells us that the world revolves around what we are doing every minute. When we constantly think about what WE are thinking and doing every minute, it’s hard to think about what someone else is doing or not able to do. Our human brains can pretty much concentrate on only topic at one time. It’s hard to think about the problems and struggles and injustices faced by people we don’t even know, but are (or should be) connected to (as we were with so many on 9/11/01) when we are trying to formulate our next “status update” about our own problems, struggles and injustices.

Okay . . . now I’ve probably offended some of my own Facebook friends. Some might “de-friend” me. Jump in and comment if you disagree (or agree). But sorry, today, on 9/11, I just had to get these Facebook feelings off my chest.

And for so many of you who are acting on your melancholy feelings; who are using your status update to remember, reflect, and challenge each other. Thanks. After 9/11/09 I hope I really can be a different person.


1 comment:

  1. I believe that fear (possibly any negative emotion) will change your personal desires you for six weeks at the most. You need to find another purpose in life to change you totally. Love does that for some. Getting connected with Christ does that for some. After 9/11 I listened to people speaking in interviews and so many said that this has changed them forever. But it didn't take long, as you yourself said, for most people to return to their own selfish lifestyles. I don't think I ever hear anyone speaking about 9/11 anymore, except on 9/11.