Recently, it was my birthday. 52 and STILL GOT IT!
Now, no matter how much one may mistrust, resent and despise Facebook, the Facebook Birthday is practically a religious experience. I know on my Facebook Birthday, I always feel like George Bailey at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life, winking upward at the heavens, nodding in full, glorious understanding at how very blessed is the man who has friends (attaboy, Clarence!).
Like George Bailey, we all get a taste of sweet, loving connectedness on Facebook Birthday that’s hard to describe. It’s truly astonishing to consider how many people we cross paths with in our lives, especially when Facebook lays the map out - reminding you of where you’ve been and with whom. Who knew we got out that much?! And if you’re in a business like I’m in, where you meet scads of fabulous folks, your friend list balloons beyond the bounds of credulity.
Mind you, a lot of those connections seem superficial. We hardly know some of these people. right? Some we barely even remember. Were we even sober when we met them? Who can say? (Remember - no judgments!) Here’s the thing - the physical world is chock full of people with whom we are not acquainted. (“We haven’t had the pleasure,” we might have said back in the day) And I think Facebook Birthday reminds us, for one day a year, just how beautifully connected we all actually are. We can receive a well-wish or a chipper salutation from someone who is seemingly, to all intents and purposes a stranger - and, no matter how brief or perfunctory that message, it is an impulse of love. A kindness - even if bestowed through a feeling of mild obligation. Because we’re connected. And it’s a feeling we value. And Facebook Birthday reminds us that we do value connectivity. I believe we value it because we know, consciously or unconsciously, the truth of our existence - that we are all inextricably connected. And whenever we ponder that notion - I mean, really feel it - which we all do from time to time...well, that is just the jim-dandiest of feelings!
I find it fascinating that Facebook, which has been such a divisive and fractious force in recent years, can also provide an experience of such profound joy and connection. But Facebook is only a tool, after all; and how we use that tool demonstrates where we’re at at this juncture in time (like Ginsu knives showed us where we were at in the seventies...and they were pretty darn cool PS!). And as much as we can be quick to block our Facebook friends for one petty grievance or another, it is impossible to actually block our brothers and sisters from our hearts and our consciousness. We may try, but as we’ve experienced, it’s painful (like not reading the instructions on a Ginsu knife, trust me).
So how do we all get along on Facebook? I DON’T KNOW. I’m writing this to try and puzzle it out. For me, I’m going to try and prize my connection with my brothers and sisters more than I prize my being “right” about whatever seemingly crucial issue du jour we’re scrapping about. And in moments where I may want to judge the living crap out of someone - and in doing so make myself painfully separate from them - I will, instead, choose love. Cause you can ALWAYS choose again. Now, now, and now. And now. (and now)
I love you!! See? I choose love. It’s easier.