A couple of days ago I found myself in a Twitter blur, just scrolling through strangers’ tweets, wondering what makes people want to broadcast 140 characters of … whatever… into the cybersphere. It’s fun. I like Twitter. It’s kind of a noncommittal medium. You say it but it floats away. Like on the wings of a bluebird.
Anyway, I saw the trending topics in the margin and saw one called #aboutme. I don’t generally spend a lot of time on trending topics (or on Twitter, actually), except for that one October night, when there was that #addawordruinamovie hashtag, where thousands of people were playing this hilarious game of changing a single word in a movie title and making it suddenly an awful movie. Laughed until I wiped away tears, threw in a few of my own that night, including “Days of Thunder Thighs,” “An NSA Bug’s Life,” and “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey Concert.” So. Much. Hilarity.
But this #aboutme caught my eye for some reason and I clicked to see what people would post.
It was tremendously sad.
Young people, whose Twitter bios that seemed upbeat about their fandom of this or that, posted heart-wrenching secrets about crying themselves to sleep or feeling horribly down or cutting themselves or abusing substances to self medicate to dull the pain of their lives.
I sat there and wiped away tears, this time for sadness.
The thing that puzzled me so much was why. Why are these young people (because most of the posters were teens or young 20-somethings) so emotionally adrift? Where is the spiritual anchor?
As 2013 ends and I begin a new year with everyone else, I reflect on the goodness of my parents, the strong foundation they grounded me with, the strength that they imbued in me by teaching me the things of God while I was young. Even when it was hard for them (I’m sure), they made sure I attended church every Sunday, increased my faith, helped me learn to pray each and every day, and showed me through their daily (often multiple times a day) actions that service to their fellowman was a sure path to happiness, and that hard work makes us forget our own troubles, just like serving others does.
I was blessed beyond measure to have been born to my parents, and to have the heritage of grandparents with those same values. And great-grandparents.
It is my 2014 anxiety-of-my-soul to teach my children, to continue to teach my children, these things and to help them set a sure course of happiness and peace through the storms of life that will surely try to topple their little vessels.
I pray God’s help in doing so.
Happy New Year, all. And a much happier 2014 to anyone whose 2013 brought pain and sadness and tears. I pray God’s help for you as well.