I'm about to start a month-long media fast tomorrow, and I am nervous.
I am afraid of missing out--not knowing what's going on in the world, not receiving instant feedback, and not having pretty things to gaze upon via my computer screen. What if there is some giant theological blog conversation I miss? What if someone gets engaged or pregnant and I'm late to the congrats train? Will I miss the inspiration of gazing at beautiful homes that incorporate sherpa rugs into the design scheme?
In the days leading up to the sabbatical, I have noticed how often I turn to media as a means of self-soothing--it allows me to escape a hard or uncomfortable moment in my own life by absorbing myself fully in a snapshot from someone else's life. More and more, I feel I'm learning to sit and face my own sadness or discomfort, rather than shoving it away or prettying it up. I suspect this fast--longer than any other I've done, media-wise--will be both painfully and beautifully instrumental in that process.
I have also noted my growing frustration at knowing how to share things from my life in a way that is appropriate for the social media platform. Speaking frankly, I've been seeing a therapist once a week and leading a small group through a class at my local church that bases its material on the 12 Step program (but is intended for relational and emotional healing, not substance abuse). I don't know how to share all that is being stirred up, processed, acknowledged, and learned through these and other experiences--online. It seems a little heavy for social media, does it not? Yet I deeply appreciate the vulnerability of others online, often refreshing, challenging, and enlightening me through the honest sharing of their stories, doubts, and faith. I'm always walking a delicate line as I decide what to share, and how to share it.
In my time away from the screen, I hope to read a few books, get back to NPR, write some emails (as email is exempt from the fast), play a round or two of cribbage with Chris, and experience greater peace in a significantly less noise- and information-saturated month. I'd love an email (or a letter!) from you, dear reader, while I'm off the interwebs.