I love Facebook. It allows me to delude myself with 15 seconds of fame. I can pull up that busy blue page, type “[This] happened today!”, and for two-ish hours, I’m news on my friends’ feeds, earning me some thumbs-ups and quippy comments. For a few hours, I shamelessly sunbathe in the rays of online popularity. Then my news is replaced by a picture of a cat standing on a dog. And that gets 3K more likes than my “[This] happened today!” Reality check, compliments of our pals at Facebook.
Facebook tricks me, you see. Tricks me into thinking that the popularity of a status update is more important than the status of life happening around me. I’m wedged between the rock of “immediate gratification” and the hard place of “what’s going to count tomorrow.” So much of life is the immediate demand: the trivial Facebook status, the errands that have to be looped around and through and back again, the emails that need an answer today or else, the dinner that must be served on-time, hot, and pleasing to the palate of every family member hurried to the table. We want it all to be pretty: zen errands, witty email responses, and delicious dinners. Oh, and we expect to meet all of that immediate demand and still invest in the moments that matter tomorrow.
Sometimes my life squeaks just close enough to that perfect balance that I can craft a decent Facebook update about it. Most days though, no matter how I spin the status, my days turn out looking like this:
It’s a rabbit, couldn’t you tell? It’s smiling at you. (Couldn’t you tell?)
Little Friend made this rabbit figure for me the other day as I finished my day’s work tasks on my computer. We sat at opposite ends of the dining room table, each of us immersed in our immediate demands of emails (me) and molding clay (her). She bantered away while she worked, and I attempted to answer with some “okays” and “sures”. I may or may not have unwittingly agreed to let her have a mid-afternoon dessert. But hey, my emails were wittily composed.
I eased my way around the rock of immediate gratification by finishing my pressing correspondence, and looked up from my computer to see Little Friend, suspicious chocolate crumbs around her mouth, hugging a blob. It could have been a pair of melted sunglasses. Or a troll. She announced it’s a rabbit. Probably wouldn’t have guessed rabbit, but if you squint a bit… She was smiling and chattering and so precociously precious that my heart wedged in a crack next to the hard place of “What’s going to count tomorrow?”
Emails? Daughter? Emails? Daughter? Rabbit?
We all have some image of how life is supposed to look. It’s amazingly easy to buy the lie that we can write witty emails AND be fully present in a daughter’s budding craftiness. Life, we believe, should look something like a spring spread for Martha Stewart Living. Fresh and hopeful and perfectly composed in every which way.
But sometimes life looks more like this.
Yup. My life looks like a rabbit-troll. But gosh darn it, it’s MY much-loved rabbit-troll. A rabbit-troll that has been sculpted and molded from the materials we have at hand. A rabbit-troll doing its very best to sit up straight like a perfect rabbit. A rabbit-troll that bravely smiles at today. A rabbit-troll with a face only a mother (or a Creator) could love.
My life needs to be molded the best I can, and then it needs to be loved for what it is. My life will have knobbly bits and pieces of Facebook status updates, rushed errands, laundry cycles, burned dinners, to-do lists, and email replies. My life will flash a toothy grin. My life will be an imperfect version of some perfect balance. My life will continue to be lived somewhere between a rock and a hard place, because I need the “What’s important tomorrow” to make something out of the “Immediate gratification” today.
If I had to distill all that to a Facebook status, it’d probably be: “Rabbit-Troll taught me a lesson today. Molding and holding the imperfect life you’ve got is the most perfect life to live.”
Deep, right? Give it 15 seconds. That darn cat standing on a dog will still win.