Thursday, April 19, 2012

What is it about facebook statuses?

Confession: I just spent the last 15 minutes looking for a good, sad, and juicy song lyric to post on my facebook wall.  Something intriguing and provocative.  Something to perfectly match my mood.

Then I stopped and asked myself, "Why?"

What is it about stringing a dozen words together and putting it up there for all of my "friends" to see?  What is the purpose of that?

Don't get me wrong.  I appreciate and even "like" interesting, funny, or thoughtful posts that other people put up.  But there is definitely something satisfying and almost relieving in writing a good status update.  There is something about it that enhances your feelings of goodness and suppresses your feelings of badness.

But what is it?

I may have an answer.

It's the same answer that a classmate gave in my Writing Fiction and Poetry class nearly 5 years ago when the professor asked, "Why do we write?"  His answer came after a few others.  "To inform people."  "To invoke emotion."  "To change ideas."

He said, "To make sure we're not alone."

We write to make sure we're not alone.  To see if anyone else out there feels the same way we do.  And I would venture to say that, whether you are talking about a newspaper article, a science paper, a blog, or a facebook post...most of them are written to make sure we're not alone.

There is a thrill with getting "like"d.  And even more-so with getting comments.  The thrill says, "Yes!  Someone gets me.  Someone has felt this way too."

Monday, April 16, 2012


Two nights ago, we were having dinner with some new friends.  After dinner, their just-turned-one-year-old baby boy kept reaching out toward the center of the dining room table, like he wanted something.  There was a bottle there, so I handed it to him.  No interest, but he kept reaching.  I started handing him other things, but he just kept reaching.

I asked his mom, "What is he reaching for?"  And I was surprised at her answer.  And at the nonchalance of it.

"Oh, I think there's an angel in our kitchen.  He reaches out like that a lot, and sometimes I see feathers falling while I'm doing dishes."

She went on to tell us how feathers can often be a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.  How when she first heard about this phenomenon, she asked the Lord about it, and He reminded her of Psalm 91:4.

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge."

She said that, for her, the small feathers are a reminder that God is seeing her, and that He is present.
I don't know if it's my childhood, my church background, my education, my chemical makeup, or just my personality.  But when I hear things like this, my initial reactions are ones of skepticism.  My tendency is to rationalize.  To reason.  To come up with a good, logical explanation.

But in the past month or so, that has begun to change.  Our boss (who is our pastor) has been pushing us (the church staff) to stretch our faith a bit more, to look into things that are unfamiliar for us, and to ask the Lord if He wants to teach us anything new.

Well.  If you've ever asked the Lord to teach you something new, you know the answer.  It's always yes.

So on my way home from this friend's house, I prayed.

"Lord, I want to have strong faith, and I want to walk in spiritual ways.  I don't want to test You, but I also don't want to just believe everything I hear.  If I have faith in something, I want it to be from You.  If making feathers appear is really something You do, will You do it for me?"

And here's what happened.

Yesterday afternoon, I was in my kitchen talking to a friend who is in the midst of a big, messy relational situation.  She is battling hopelessness, faithlessness, bitterness, and so many other things, and we were discussing it all.  And while we were talking, guess what just appeared in mid-air. 

{Insert Dora the Explorer awkward pause while we all wait for the kids to shout out the obvious answer here.}

You guessed it!  It was a tiny feather, and it just sort of floated out between us.  I caught a hold of it and it was small and brown and about the size of a fingernail clipping.

Now.  Here's what I could do.  I could fall on my face trembling and weeping before the Lord, thanking Him for His goodness and faithfulness and presence.  I could carry the feather around with me forever.  I could end up praying to the feather and I could trap it in a tiny glass case and charge my neighbors $5 to catch a glimpse of the relic.  You see where I'm going with this.

Or I could explain it away.  "Well, she probably sleeps on a feather pillow, so this feather was trapped in her shirt and when she gestured just now, the wind picked it up and shot it out toward me.  What a funny coincidence."

Or I could do this.  I could silently thank the Lord for reminding me that He is watching my friend.  That He continues to hold onto hope.  That He is working things out and keeping us safe under His wings in the meantime.  Then I could let the feather go.

Because, do you know what?  It doesn't matter to me whether the feather appeared out of thin air from an invisible wing in my kitchen or from a feather pillow.  The point is that I asked God for a feather and He gave it to me.  He knew it would remind me of Him.  That it would strengthen my faith.  That it would get my attention.  And after all that's really what our days are about anyway, aren't they?  Remembering God and pointing our attention to Him.

And do you know what else?  I've seen two more feathers today.