I am one of the millions of people who have found Facebook to be a great place to connect with old friends and keep in touch with people. Though not part of my regular Facebook routine, I periodically take the time to read through the recent status updates posted by my friends.
For those who are unfamiliar, status updates are a means by which people can post a brief message about absolutely anything, able to be quickly read by their network of trusted friends: updates are often recent activities, random thoughts, current gripes, favorite quotes, humor, etc.
As I was reading through the status updates of my Facebook friends the other day, I was struck by the diversity of personal experience all occurring within a three hour time period –strangely, this slice of life proved to be an accurate glimpse into the assortment of emotions constantly coexisting throughout the world. Here is a sampling of status updates from my friends last Friday morning:
- Friend 1: Please pray. Our little Casey is having surgery to put tubes in her ears.
- Friend 2: 57 days and counting ’til our wedding…
- Friend 3: My first teaching assignment today–exciting and scary.
- Friend 4: Last day of vacation on the Hawaiian islands!
- Friend 5: I feel queasy. Blah.
- Friend 6: Happy 5th birthday to our precious granddaughter “Princess Leah.”
- Friend 7: Lazy Friday morning…in our pj’s coloring, doing puppets shows, drinking coffee, making muffins.
- Friend 8: Patti has developed pneumonia, is still on a respirator, heart 20-25% functioning. Situation is “iffy.”
- Friend 9: Made it out the door with all four kids for the first time by myself today!
- Friend 10: My hubby has the awesome task of buying us a new HDTV.
- Friend 11: When climbing life’s hills, be sure to pause every now and then and look back to see how far you’ve come. It can help push you further on.
- Friend 12: Stuck on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland.
- Friend 13: Please God….don’t take Gabriel too! [Her first son died of an unknown leukodystrophy and her other son is afflicted with the same disease and currently in ICU fighting for his life.]
It is so jarring to read about one friend who is desperately crying out to God to spare the life of her child meanwhile another is excited to get a new TV. While one person is having fun on vacation, starting a new job, celebrating a birthday, or preparing for marriage, another person is feeling under the weather, holding the hand of their child about to have surgery, or actually fearing for the life of a loved one. It is bizarre to consider how at any given moment there are friends in my life who are facing the deepest of affliction, and at the same time others are overjoyed by their circumstances.
Life is strange.
Each person is on such a distinct journey, full of ups and downs. And while my heart aches deeply for one friend, it rejoices with another, all the while also feeling my own emotions fluctuate each day over the circumstances in my life.
But as I have stated in previous blogs, I am discovering that to live wholly and love well seems to necessitate engaging it all, the joy and pain, along with everything in between, often even at the same time.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.” — Romans 12:15