I did a little social experiment with myself at the
beginning of 2020— I began the year vowing to minimize my engagement on social
media and promising myself that when I did engage, I would only post
encouragement. Little did any of us know what 2020 would pour down upon us and here
we are in October with the hate and division escalating and crashing all around
us. It can be easy to fall into hopelessness and despair.
2020 was also the time that I was recovering from a brutal
year of radiation and chemo in 2019—and my body and mind were experiencing many
changes. With the fear and anxiety and unknown of the pandemic, as well as the
deaths and protests and rioting—for the sake of my physical and mental health,
I began staying off social media altogether. Of course, I want to stay
informed. But not through 24 hour news streaming and scrolling through furious
FB posts with contentious comment feeds. And I don’t even have Twitter. Won’t
go there. Even with the minimal input, I began to get restless and fatigued and
I wasn’t alone—collective grief and lament have affected us all—with social
distancing affecting jobs, community, schools, and churches.
I knew I needed to change my mindset. I had to remind myself of this over and over: There
are many things I can’t control, but there are things I can choose; things I have
to let go. I have choices of what I read, view, listen to. What voices would I allow into my mind and
heart? I could also choose and take charge of how I would spend my time and
energy. I found that how I wanted to
spend that time and energy wouldn’t be found on any device. I tried some
escapism. I read some books with my book club that revealed glimpses of the
wonder and resilience of the human spirit. I watched and rewatched all six seasons of
Schitt’s Creek—which gave me laugh out loud moments to share with others as
well as the hope that with acceptance and intentional relationships, our hearts
and priorities can truly change.
It was in early August that I found out my cancer had spread
to my pelvic bone and that I had numerous tumors in my lungs. I was exhausted; this news hit hard. I needed treatment again--radiation and chemo infusion. The
pandemic meant that I cannot have visitors during treatment—something that many
have had to deal with concerning older parents, or hospital stays, or
Today I am writing from the infusion center as I begin the
first of many rounds of chemo treatment. I have been here before. I know what
to expect. My hair will fall out. I will be weak and tired. I will have nausea
and diarrhea. I will have days with no appetite. And hopefully, I will have
days that aren’t as hard where I can play games with my family, or go on walks
with my dogs, or hikes with my friends. Days where I can appreciate all that I
have been given and days where I recognize with gratitude all that is around me
that brings peace and joy.
The main thing I learned from my social experiment of 2020
is that I am in charge of what I allow into my thoughts and mind. And secondly,
relationships that run deep must be intentional. They aren’t made up of quips
on Twitter, or poses on Instagram, or rants on FB. Relationships that run deep
require time, energy, and commitment. Intentional relationships take the time
to listen, to disagree, and to still love and accept the other. You will not
find this in the world of social media. You will find it around your kitchen
table. You will find it when you fellowship over a meal together. You will find
it when you listen instead of waiting to pounce with your next idea. Intentional
relationships grow into intentional communities. And intentional communities
can begin to affect change.
Haters will hate. Lovers will love. Friends will accept. Decide today where you want to spend your thought time
and your heart energy. Make a choice and commitment and stay true to that. Your
heart will thank you. Your family will thank you.
As I end my day in the infusion center, I think of what Christ
has given me as I geared up for this next round of treatment. He has given me
my husband, my boys, my family, and my friends who are interceding in prayer
for me to have strength, peace, and healing. He has given me my church family
who also love with words and action and meals and care. He has given me his
Word which reminds me that He is in control, yes, even now. Jesus said he would
give us His gift of peace—and it is a peace that surpasses all understanding.
It is a peace that social media and the cacophony of news streams and
commentators cannot give. Because Jesus said it is a peace that the world
cannot give. Now, may you rest in that peace, despite the triggers of this
The Lord reigns,
he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and
armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.