August 1, 2016

"I'm Not Quitting. I'm Changing."

I'm done, friends. I know I've said it before, and I've meant it before. I couldn't really go through with it. But this time... enough is enough.

I am done posting about political and social issues on Facebook. 

I know, I know. You've heard it before. But this time is different. Before, my reasons were me-based. All of the negative and outrageous and hateful stories I was sharing were making me upset and anxious, and my decision to stop posting them was an attempt to regain my own sanity.

But it never really kept me from posting for long, did it? I might go a few days in the new groove, but I'd quickly be back to ranting about the latest social injustice or bigoted, hateful words making the rounds. Just like that, I was back to my old habits.

This time, it's different. And it's going to stick. Because I'm seeing this in a whole new light and with a truly mind-blowing realization. Posting about political and social issues on Facebook does nothing to change anything. (No, that is not the realization. I've always know this.)

The realization? There ARE things I can... and have... posted that have actually impacted other people in a positive way.

I've spearheaded efforts to raise money to provide a toddler basic educational toys. To make repairs on a home for a family in crisis. To give impoverished children a joyous Christmas. To help a Marine brother and his family weather a financial storm. To help families recover from devastating medical situations.

I've reached out to more people than I can even remember, offering shelter, food, safety, and often most important, a safe place to settle while struggling through tough times.

I've rallied friends and strangers to walk through the night with a solo athlete on her 55-mile journey. To celebrate the accomplishments of a young man halfway around the world from his family. To welcome home Marine after Marine after Marine from combat deployments. To honor strangers and help supply classrooms and make sure travelers in distress complete their trip cross-country.

If this sounds like I'm bragging, you are correct. I am. Absolutely. But not about me and my actions. I am bragging about those around me and their unwavering commitment to helping others whenever possible. No matter the time of year, or the cause, or the recipients, friends in my social circle (and beyond) are there to provide whatever assistance they can. They just need a direction to move and they go. And that is the lesson here that leads me to the important realization:

Posting about people in need and offering specific avenues through which people can assist changes lives.

That's it. That's the simple truth. I can continue to be just-another-person posting about the awful things people are saying and doing OR I can lead the way and help connect what I refer to as the Good-Hands-People to folks who desperately need their assistance.

No, I'm not starting another charity. No, I'm not losing myself in a campaign against all social injustice. But I am going to think carefully about the stories I share and the words I post. Because the old way does nothing to make me a happier person or this world a better place. But with this newly focused way? I think there's a real shot at doing some good.

So, here's me going forward, trying to be much more selective with my Facebook posts.

Wish me luck.