Friday, December 31, 2010

Intentionality

I recently discovered the owls & the angels, through a post she’d written that went viral about how to keep people in church. (My favorite suggestion was #19: “Make some part of the church building accessible for people to pray in 24/7. Put some blankets there too, in case someone has nowhere else to go for the night.” ) I read more of her blog, and then friended her on Facebook, because she seemed kindred to me in a way. Her work reminded me of parts of myself that I don’t engage with, for various reasons, anymore. Parts of me that I wanted back. She reminded me to be in love with nature. To value relationships, health (not just the absence of sickness) and time.

She’s going off of Facebook for several months. This post explains why: she wants to live in her real skin, not be conscious of how she looks to an online audience. She wants to write from her most honest self. It’s part of a larger media fast.

I am not fasting from Facebook. But her post got me thinking of the way I engage with social media, and the way I use my time. This blog is a ministry, and I want to be more faithful to it. I want to spend more time with the part of myself that writes and communicates in real depth.

I also need to stop clicking “refresh” on Facebook for hours on end. There’s a line from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet that goes something like this: “Don’t seek your friend with hours to kill. Seek him with hours to live.” I want to be truly in relationship with people, online as well as face-to-face. Not just use them as dopamine hits to keep from getting bored. All of us are worth infinitely more than that.

It’s the incarnational focus, in practice. Honoring now. Sitting quietly by myself in my own skin. Baking bread, when I’m baking bread. Really being with you, when I’m with you.

I don’t think it starts with structuring time. That by itself never works for me. It starts with realizing what I value, whom I love, where and how and who I want to be. I’m not fasting from social media. I will use it differently. I’m not going to blog daily. I will give more time to writing. I can’t take off and be in the mountains in an hour; I don’t encounter water every time I leave the house. But any time I want to, I can just go outside. I know I have tumors in my lungs; they will always be there, even if they don’t grow anymore. I can still ride a bicycle.

You know what I miss? Real, honest-to-God, paper letters. I’m not going to write them. But I can answer the stack of real e-mails from people who have written to me. And I can write to friends I haven’t connected with in awhile. It takes a lot more time and presence than clicking “like” on a Facebook status.

The other thing: I really don’t pray anymore. If someone asks for prayers for something, I’ll say that I will and then I send out a quick mental candle. I don’t make time in my daily life to be with God. And I really need to. Writing puts me in that touch. So does walking, and being in nature. I haven’t done the Daily Office in years. Wonder what would happen if I did?

It’s not really a New Year’s resolution; I never keep those. It’s an experiment in being fully alive.

6 comments:

tamie said...

Blessings, Kirstin, and blessed be.

Kirstin said...

Thank you, Tamie. You too.

Apostle In Exile said...

Clicking on "Like"!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you spent a truly productive Advent. Thanks for writing about your new experiment. I like it.
Love,
Mary Beth A.

it's margaret said...

Love this. Love you.

Yes, this blog is a ministry. A good one. A holy one. I am confident your work with the homeless is too.

And watch out for the pesky Daily Office!

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