Monday, June 19, 2017

The Silent.

Yesterday was nice. Fathers Day. Social media was a wall to wall tribute to us. Adorable photographs, heart warming tributes, competing claims to Best Father Ever, turning Facebook into a living, breathing, digital Hallmark card. Mostly, this was a very good thing. Who among us would rather read unhinged, fact-free political debates? No, I'll take pictures of fathers hugging their daughters any day. But...

I don't know what it is with me. Sometimes, among the happiest of times, at the point of greatest joy, my mind can be counted on to find a dark cloud. Yesterday was the perfect example of this unfortunate tendency. As I was reading the glowing tributes by my friends to their wonderful dads, I started thinking, Wow, this must really be painful for people with horrible fathers. I personally know many people who were raised by monumental jerks, don't you? What must go through their minds on Fathers Day? After all, nobody would post something like this:

On this Fathers Day, all I can think of is what a worthless, drunken, abusive, self-centered beast my father was. I have no idea where he is today, and frankly, I couldn't possibly care less.

No, that's not how Facebook works. People who have horrible fathers remain silent. They read the tributes from their friends and wonder what it must be like to have a father who loves them. Or, they tune everything out by voluntarily censoring it for a few days until their news feeds are cleansed of all the love. They wait for summer vacation pictures from the beach, or July the 4th celebration pictures, something with which they can better relate, something less painful.

Much has been made about the unreality of social media, about how it distorts people's perceptions of what life is really like. To judge by Facebook or Instagram, you might think that your friends have all won the lottery, every day is a celebration of accomplishment, every morning bringing more evidence of God's favor and provision. On the one hand, I get it. You want to bankrupt Facebook? Make a rule where only bad news, personal failings and betrayals were allowed on your timeline? I mean, who would want to wade through that cesspool all day? Personally, I enjoy hearing good news about people I know. It's comforting.....right up to the point where it gets annoying. Too many, Can you believe it?? husband got another promotion?!, posts and something inside me bristles. Heck, I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I'm constantly extolling the many virtues of my wife on social media. Number one, it's easy to do because she truly is amazing, and number two, I'm not about to post something about how what a maniac she can be to live with the week before a vacation. Why? Because I'm not an idiot, that's why. And, well...I'm not sure why. I just don't post things like that.

All I'm saying is, on days like Fathers Day, I feel for the fatherless. On Valentines Day, I feel for the lonely. I suppose I secretly wish that all of life was as clear and undefiled as it seems on Facebook, especially on Fathers Day.