The Pastor and I were having dinner with a young couple that is getting married soon. Along with all the (fantastic) unsolicited advice we gave them, we discussed the enormous amounts of ideas and information available to plan a wedding. When the Pastor and I got married half a million years ago there was no Pinterest, no wedding websites, no Instagram. In fact, I can’t really even remember what we used the internet for except doing homework.
Our access to a huge amount of information has been wonderful…and terrible. Never before has one been able to see what every single person you went to high school with is eating for lunch or how your grandmother’s diabetes is doing on a weekly basis. And while the world wide webs have allowed me to continue my search for the best snocone in the city, how many teaspoons in a tablespoon and to connect with other physicians nationwide for support and resources, let’s be honest. The internet has ruined a lot of things.
Holidays. Let me apologize to all of you who have lost a mother or a child, who long to be a mother but have not become one and will have to endure the onslaught of mother’s day pics and posts. And not just that. We can now all see what intricate decorations and party favors are made for children’s birthdays and what everyone is having for dessert on their anniversary along with Christmas morning and on and on. It’s exhausting.
Compliments and complaints. It used to be that if you wanted to complain about something or somebody, you called up your friend or went to the office next door and spilled your heart out. And if you wanted to compliment someone you would find them and tell them or send them a note or an email or a text. Now everything on the internet is either the absolute best or the absolute worst. I feel like nothing is ever just fine anymore. That when your hamburger comes out with mustard instead of ketchup the whole world must know of the trauma you have endured. In the same way all things good or great are now “I die” and “Gah.” New hairstyles, vacation photos, work events, your dog’s haircut. It’s all over the top.
Professions. All that knowledge out there in the interwebs is awesome. And terrifying. I think we are coaxed into thinking that we can use all that information to master any area of life we would like. Here’s the problem…we can’t. The internet won’t make me into a third grade teacher anymore than it will make you into a gynecologist. And that’s awesome. The internet should empower us to learn and grow but we should not be mistaken as a replacement for the hard work and training people invest in their careers. So let’s stay away from thinking that a quick search can make you into an electrician or a plumber, a surgeon or a theologian.
In all seriousness, may we use the power of the internet with grace. Celebrate the highs and respect the lows. Think twice before wielding your social media account for vigilante justice. Say a prayer for those who won’t celebrate the events in life that you have the opportunity to celebrate. Make sure the people you love and respect know exactly why that is true. Post a million pictures of your kids, your pets, your food and your drama if you wish. But always remember the power of the internet and that kindness and empathy have a place here too. And while you’re at it…if you find the best snocone in the city let me know about it, ok?