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Oregon Family Magazine

The New Year Brings Opportunity

12/30/2019 07:05PM ● By Sandy Kauten
While normally not Shakespearean in nature, there are times when social media posts require a more thoughtful composition. I gained a better sense of this fact about 8 or 9 years ago when tragedy struck a close friend.

My children, born two years apart, were both babies at the time. Social media was easy. As expected, it was all the about the kids: photos depicting their likes and dislikes, what milestones they had reached, and how fast they were growing. The showering of “likes” and comments were endless. After all, who can resist a cute baby?

But then my close friend had a miscarriage. They had been trying for so long and had finally conceived, but tragedy struck and they lost the baby. Though devastated, they were hopeful and determined to keep trying. Their struggle to conceive again was almost a decade long.

Over those ten years, our friendship seemed to fade into cordiality and eventually a sad and dull nothingness. I sensed their constant sadness and loss, the monthly disappointment. I didn’t blame them for not wanting to be around us. Our babies were most likely a reminder of their pain. You could see it in their eyes every time they came around. I felt guilty. I didn’t know why, and I knew it wasn’t my fault, but I did. There was nothing I could do.

THINK BEFORE YOU POST

We live in a world where it’s easy to be self-consumed, sharing quick snapshots of our lives in exchange for that fleeting dopamine high. Of course, social media and sharing is fun, but seeing posts through the eyes of a “friend” or “follower” is perhaps worth a pause. Has one of your connections suffered a loss or are they struggling with a particular difficulty in their life right now? It takes self-control to think before a post, but doing so could make a difference.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Should we even consider what we post? A recent survey by Pew Research Center showed that social media usage remained average during the last couple of years, while the overall adoption of social media platforms was down over the last decade. Social media is a great way to keep in contact, but human interaction is still at the center of who we are. What you post, or don’t post, matters. If there is a person that comes to mind, consider contacting them. Ask them to get together for coffee or lunch. It may make a difference in their life and can connect you on a level that isn’t possible with technology…that necessary human connection.

SENSITIVE SHARING

When my friend had her miscarriage, I stopped posting for a few months. I was sad with them and for them. As the months passed, I began sharing pictures of the kids again. She continued to post pictures of her garden. The flowers were beautiful every spring and brilliantly colorful in summer, yet they inevitably faded as winter settled on her garden boxes, only this time the dirt was moistened with snow.

Last year, I saw a post from her. It was a picture of her newborn son. A decade long struggle all summed up in one chubby, angelic face. Her post was a sensitive one. She described the agony of the years gone by, and also the pure inexplicable joy of the moment their son came into this world. It was a hopeful post, one that her family and friends could wrap their hearts around, and one where those suffering could forget their troubles for just a moment.

THAT IS THE QUESTION

The next time you post something on social media, consider your “friends” and the impact it may have on their lives. Does it consider the plight of others? Does your message include hope and kindness? To post or not to post, that is the first and most important question.

by Holly Abernathy