What I love about social media

It never fails…I will be out and about, hair unbrushed, clothes that I chose off the floor of my bathroom, and a mind a million miles away, when a Facebook friend comes up to me to say hello. Maybe I know them in real life or maybe I only know them through the tiny screen of my glowing phone. Either way we start talking and I (who am literally not able to be fake) usually ends up opening up my heart and exposing hard things from it. I do it every time. And almost without fail my Facebook friend will say, “Oh! I would never know with how you come across on social media!”

My heart sinks. I get a little bit offended. The last thing on earth I want is for someone to think I have it all together. First of all…don’t I literally and figuratively show my dirty laundry every few months? Secondly, I deliberately try to litter my feed with images and words that fight the idea that my family is perfect. There are photos of my children crying, my dishes, me standing in a pile knee deep of laundry. There are laments of my heart, tuggings of my soul and posts searching for connection. I feel like I leave it all pretty bare.

Then I will go home and sit down to scroll, determined to prove them wrong. I will start by finding all of the proof of the realness. I will start counting them one by one until I get lost…lost in the beauty. As I scroll I see image after image of my life. I will see a photo of my children giggling and know just how hard that season was. I will see me with tired eyes hugging a bunch of wildflowers and remember that hard afternoon when the roadside blossoms made me feel alive. I will see memory after memory after memory. And then I know. These aren’t highlights. These aren’t fake. These are the moments that I grasp for. These are the beauty that I seek each and every day. They happen in the season of loss, they develop in times that we are not our ideal weight, and the beautiful thing about it is that they can happen simultaneously with sadness.

Every day I am bombarded with articles and posts griping about the dangers of social media. I agree with most of them. Yes we spend our precious time looking instead of experiencing. Yes it can make us jealous. Yes it can make us not connect in real life. But even with such a huge pile of why nots, I still can’t throw social media out with the bathwater and here’s why.

Hope.

I would say an average day is hard for me. Whether I am tired from binge watching Netflix, brokenhearted about a school shooting, or weary from serving the hundredth snack of the day, my days are usually not easy. Inside of them, though, I am always searching. Searching for the hope, for the beauty, for the ACTUAL LIGHT. And I always can find it. Whether it is in my child’s twinkly smile or in the beauty of a shadow on the floor, finding it and showing it to the world is life changing. So maybe no one gets the shadow on the floor except you and you are left with 3 likes from your mom and your best friends, it does not matter. That was a moment you claimed for good.

This is why I love social media. I love celebrating in the triumphs. I love that just a quick double tap can say, “I see you.” It’s not a highlight reel to me, it’s a light reel. And as humans I think we need to celebrate all the light that we can.