From the Hills: Facebook Words of Wisdom
By Sylvia Peterson
I’m so glad God isn’t working on the memes that pop up on Facebook. We would all be in big trouble. I’m also glad I didn’t take their advice. Sometimes what seems really wise isn’t.
Several years ago, my husband and I agreed to be the adoptive parents of a woman who desperately needed to be re-parented. Let’s call her “Nancy”. For those of you who have read my book “Laura and I – A Sex Offender and a Victim Together Seek to Understand, Forgive and Heal”, Nancy is Laura’s oldest daughter.
Nancy’s life has been hard. She is a “perfect storm” of birth difficulties, abusive childhood experiences, mental illness and substance abuse. She can be hard to love sometimes. Aren’t we all? The fact that she lives across the country from us was also a challenge.
In recent months, Nancy has become increasingly distant. She broke all the rules for building and maintaining a relationship. When we have agreed on dates and times to talk, she is not available. “I fell asleep.” She fell asleep in the early afternoon? “I came home late.” Late without a phone? “I needed to take care of an emergency.” A midnight emergency? What?
We arranged that Nancy would fly here for a visit last November. She never bought the ticket.
Then she ghosted me – disappeared from texting, social media and all forms of communication. It’s the new passive-aggressive way people break up relationships. Instead of being honest about their feelings, they walk away. Nancy ghosted me without explanation.
Should I just move on? Does anyone know of any brilliant words I could send him that would make things better? Most of our friends said, “Nancy used you. Pass. Your life is better off without it.
I did not know what to do.
Hurt and looking for answers, I thought maybe the Facebook gurus could help me. Here is a sample of what I read:
“One of the happiest times in life is when you find the courage to let go of people who don’t appreciate being loved by you.”
“If defending yourself burns a bridge, I have matches. We drive at dawn.
“You are going to meet people in your life who will say all the right words at the right time. But in the end, it’s always their actions that you should judge them on. Actions, not words, matter.
“One day you will look back and realize how difficult it was, but you had the courage to honor your feelings and walk away with your head held high.”
“Never cling to relationships that aren’t meant for you.”
I was looking for something that would resonate in my aching heart. The closest thing I found was a beautiful photograph from the San Diego Zoo captioned “Sometimes you just need to see a picture of an otter holding her new baby.” It made me cry. Motherhood can be beautiful, but it can also be difficult.
Nancy called me two days ago.
“Mom, you have every right to throw me on the sidewalk, but I want to be honest with you about what’s going on. I started using drugs again and went to a very dark place. I couldn’t talk to you. I wasn’t ready to stop and you would have heard it in my voice. Can you forgive me?”
Suddenly, everything made sense to me.
Even when Facebook gives us hundreds of seemingly wise words that justify leaving people behind, we have to be careful. God never abandons anyone.
Here is a meme from Mother Theresa of Calcutta: “People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway.
Sylvia Peterson is the former co-pastor of Bald Hill Community Church and the author of “The Red Door: Where Hurt and Holiness Collide,” which can be purchased from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. She and her husband are chaplains for the Bald Hills Fire Department. You can email him at [email protected]