Here’s one from the vault of things I’ve learned as a caregiver: It’s extremely difficult to fast from social media when your life is in crisis mode,
This year, I decided that one of the things I was going to fast from for Lent was social media. It should have been a cinch. I’ve done it several times before, and while it certainly was a sacrifice, it was also a good thing, and entirely possible to do, successfully.
Then, my husband had some emergency situations with his health
Could we get through them without social media? Sure. After all, 20 years ago we didn’t post the details of our lives to a social media account. Very few people had cell phones and an app was the lazy man’s way of saying “appetizer.”
For all of my preaching about digital minimalism, I was faced with the question of whether or not that was the better way in a circumstance like this. There were many things to take into consideration. You can come to your own conclusion, should you ever face the life-threatening illness of a loved one (and I pray that you don’t).
Here are some thoughts I had this past week
When my husband decided to participate in a medical trial at the Mayo Clinic, we kept our family and friends updated on Caring Bridge. It’s a form of social media, to be sure, but I give it a pass when it comes to digital minimalism and social media fasts. It isn’t used for “fluffy” reasons. The benefits of using it far outweigh any negatives. Rather than having to make many phone calls and send many texts and emails, I can quickly update all of our family and friends with one post. In turn, they can send messages of encouragement. Another benefit of Caring Bridge is the feature that allows me to request meals or any other form of assistance we may need, in a very specific way. So this is a good thing.
I choose to share the Caring Bridge to my Facebook feed. Like anything you share to social media, nowadays, this can be done without ever even going to Facebook. This way, if any of our family and friends doesn’t use Caring Bridge, they can be alerted to the new post and link directly to it.
This is where trying to fast from social media, as a caregiver, gets tricky
We have wonderfully supportive people in our corner, praying for us and wishing us the best. I’ve never had the feeling that our lives are like a car wreck for social media friends to gawk at. They truly do care. That means a lot to me. So, I knew that there would be well wishes in my Facebook feed. I hesitated to read and reply to them due to my social media fast. But that didn’t sit well with me. People took the time to respond to our time of need. They deserve to have their kind words acknowledged, in some way, even if it is simply with a “like.”
This reminds me of the acts of healing, kindness, and mercy which Jesus performed on the Sabbath. He didn’t do these things to flaunt the law. In fact, He says he didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill the law (Matt 5:17). In some ways, this struggle I have felt over this particular Lenten fast has taught me more than any previous fast I have undergone—even though I feel as though I have already failed miserably. I have had to consider the well-being of those around me.
So, there are many perspectives one can take in these situations. None is necessarily wrong. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to cut myself some slack this year when it comes to my social media fast. I still won’t be posting any cat videos. But I won’t feel bad for thanking a friend who comments on a post about what the latest news is in this difficult saga.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
There is so much more that could be said about this, but I will leave that up to you, my readers. Tell me your thoughts in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!
In 2012 doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan, with stage IV lung cancer. Since then, our family has been learning what it means to face cancer. I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available on Amazon.com
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I also blog at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker