There is something that has been on my mind so now I get to subject you to it! I know...lucky you!
I have read some farewell posts recently and references to others who have condemned the act of blogging in general as something evil and filled with pride. And for some readers, these Dear John letters might have inspired them to reevaluate their own online relationships and how much time and energy they are devoting to this hobby. How much time is it taking away from their family? How much frustration is it bringing into their lives? And these are all valid questions.
Here's my gripe. Yes, there are some people who shouldn't be blogging. Perhaps the temptations of the greener grass is too much for them. Perhaps they have difficulty with self control. Maybe personal feelings of inadequacy make peeking into other people's lives a burden too great to bear. I can easily imagine that for someone who feels as though her life is spinning out of control, the internet can provide too many how-to-order-your-life-the-right-way solutions that end up paralyzing some or sending others into a manic frenzy. It's possible that some people recognize their own narcissistic tendencies and see the pitfalls of pride clearly stretched out in front of them on the information superhighway. And if this is the case, then perhaps these people shouldn't be on the internet. They probably shouldn't be reading blogs and they definitely shouldn't be blogging themselves.
But I have to say that I am a little tired of the swell of voices behind them echoing the evils of the internet because... I would have been one of those people not too long ago. I love color in my world, but in my brain, things look like a 1950's classic TV marathon. I like things black and white by nature. Just tell me what the right thing to do is and I'll do it. Guarantee me that parenting style X will produce the kind of kids I want mine to be (AKA...everything I wasn't) and I'm hooked. Tell me that devotion Z will mean that my children never have to stumble along their path to holiness and I am on my knees ready to go. But you know what... there are very few absolutes in this world and that kind of mentality isn't helpful.
To those people who are natural leaders, please be aware of the impact your words have on the followers; those of us who might be so lacking in self confidence and the ability to trust our own decisions that we mistakenly substitute yours for ours. But to those people whose brains only work in monochrome format, realize that you have the responsibility to think for yourself. Because it is all too easy to let someone else decide for you... it takes away all of the blame. The guilt of choosing poorly is lifted off your shoulders and hoisted onto the unsuspecting back of the person you have placed on that precarious pedestal. It might feel liberating but is it really fair?
Now, there are certain areas of interest that are not safe for my mind to engage in and for those people suffering from mental health issues like anxiety disorders or depression, some subjects need to be decided by people who know us, love us and truly understand our "quirks". For example... medical issues are a trigger for my anxiety. I can't let myself read any stories about someone suffering from cancer or the latest treatment for the chronic illness du jour, etc.... I don't disparage anyone for posting stories like that but I also don't choose to unplug my modem.
Can the internet suck too much time and energy away from your family? Sure... but so can talking on the phone, watching movies and a mile-long list of other possibilities. I know that if I get started on a new exciting craft project, I am just a removed mentally from my children as I am sitting in front of a screen. Everything in moderation, right? For those who struggle with moderation in certain areas or those with addictive personality tendencies, perhaps total abstinence is easier. But don't sit there and list the evils of the internet unless you are willing to be honest with us about your personal failings and temptations. We live in a fallen world; everything is tinged with evil. How you use these things makes all the difference.
As homeschooling mommies, we all know how much work we have to do on a daily basis, but how much we physically accomplish is not the measure of our virtuousness. As my best friend says "Productivity does not exclude the life of the mind". Some people are more intellectual and others are more active but neither is more holy than the other. I could choose to spend my time decoupaging my coffee table with a lovely pattern I saw in the latest edition of (insert magazine name here) or reading an article that traces the history of decoupage back to the ancient Egyptians online and whether either one leads me closer to holiness depends on many factors known only to me.
There is a vibrant community out here that might be just the thing a young mom who feels so very alone needs to help boost her spirits and give her mind something to ponder in polysyllabic thought. It can be the perfect place for an experienced mom to share her adventures but still stay in touch with the challenges that moms of today are facing. There are friends of the heart, mind and soul that can't always be found next door in many of the little corners of this world. There is also the chance to learn and grow in holiness for those who choose moderation and self control.
Maybe this community is something that some people need only for a short time and that's OK. All conversations go through lulls. Stepping back to reevaluate is always a good thing, but no one should make you feel bad for choosing to participate just because they have made the decision that this form of communication doesn't suit them.
Donna Reed only lives on late night TV (and in my head sometimes) but she represented a part of our society that use to be the norm; community. Not everyone can find that in their neighborhoods anymore so we look for it anywhere we can because it is necessary for some of us. It builds us up when we would normally tend to fall into self doubt. It gives us courage when we would normally sink into self pity. It gives us hope when we would normally find ourselves wallowing in despair.
Blogging is an activity, like all activities, that is morally neutral. It can be used to feed pride and vanity and that is bad. Some people have used it to create a virtual community where a physical one is not possible but very much needed and that is good. For some it is simply a means of entertainment which some people might try to tell you is bad but some of our lovely saints would beg to differ. When both St. Charles Borromeo and St. Aloysius were involved in a game, the first playing chess and the other playing ball, they were asked what they would do if they were to learn that the end of the world was imminent. Both responded that they would go on with their game. We can glorify God in all things we do and I believe He has a hand in every created thing in this world. Even the internet.