What an amazing place!
Sometimes I think I spend way too much time there. I belong to about 50 groups (far too many to have meaningful contact with them all!). I have four of my own pages and a couple of groups, so yeah, I'm committed to this!
Some days I get overwhelmed. Too much crap! Depressing world news, pictures of people being tortured, children abused, all sorts of horror hitting me in the face, demanding my attention, emotions, responses, money, time. So much that I can do little or nothing about. So much that overwhelms, to the point of desensitising and just skimming over it all.
But then there are cats, and food, and babies, and funny memes...
There's also the friendships - with people you've never met. Some become quite deep and personal, others are just fun and flippant. I've had the wonderful fortune of meeting a couple of FB friends from overseas - and it was wonderful!!
But there's also a huge world of discussion, argument, conflicting views, exploring ideas, discovery, growth - and also the world of preaching, bigotry, hate, dogma, ignorance. There's a lot of really ugly stuff as well.
So why do we do it? Why do I spend so much time on it?
On one hand, I like it when I'm "Liked". I express some idea, post something funny or meaningful and the Likes come rolling in - it feels good. I post something controversial or challenging and get the Likes, the encouragement, the discussions and arguments, and it feels good to have triggered something bigger than myself.
On the other hand, I can get attacked. I can be vulnerable and have people take advantage of that. I can be abused, misunderstood and victimised by people completely unwilling to hear others, or who are just victims of their own biases and dogma. But it hurts, especially when you know they don't see you as a real person, with the same loves and passions and fears as all of us!
But on the other hand (Ok, three hands, but who's counting), I see a mass of humanity, all wanting to be understood, to be accepted, affirmed in their humanity, to be honoured for where they are at. People wanting to be loved.
I get torn. There's so much shallow thinking, so much obsession with meaningless stuff. So many who fail to see the most basic consequences of their thoughts and actions. People totally unaware of their paradigms and biases, who they are and what made them that way. People who are so self centred that they refuse to believe for a second that they could be wrong about anything.
I get torn because I know these people need love - more than anything else, they need to experience pure, unconditional love. But we also need to educate, to challenge - and some are so ignorant of the damage they inflict on other people that we can't simply sit back and let them go on.
Perhaps empathy is the key. When we stop and really want to understand others, to get inside their heads and feel the way they do, we might be able to respond in a way that brings life and healing.
Some christian circles might call it prophesy or "word of knowledge", but we don't need some wanky religious jargon to apply a basic human attribute. Empathy has nothing to do with our belief systems. It transcends any religion or dogma. Empathy is unconditional love. It's as simple as taking the time to listen without prejudice and put ourselves in their shoes.