Actually, I'm not really going to do a year in review. At least not the kind where I look back at my posts for the year. I don't really keep any real statistics that would enable to tell me that.
I was thinking back over the past year as I got out my 2017 wall calendars and began using my Moleskine day planner (it starts on December 26). After making a mental promise to myself to seek to avoid breaking another bone in 2017, I thought about what has gone by this past year. What has stood out to me?
Although it's not an illuminating thing, it's something that has been re-inforced to me repeatedly this past year: there is life outside the internet and social media. Of course that's a no-brainer. We all know that. But, often, I feel like we forget. I know I do. I will worry more about an exchange on social media than I will about my relationship with my family or friends. I may think that following someone on social media means I know them intimately. I may get unduly irritated by something I see happen on Twitter. I need to remember that those things are very fleeting. Internet attention spans are notoriously short, so why do I get in a tizzy?
Two things in particular have really driven this point home. First, my systematic theology class. Being able to talk face to face with other theology nerds has reminded me of the value of in person communication. When I consider the many topics we discussed this past semester, I've often thought, "I wonder how this exchange would play out on social media?" The answer, of course, is not with nearly as much grace and kindness. We didn't rant at one another, speak with nasty sarcasm, or call each other heretics. My prof, especially, has modeled what valuable, biblically-driven disscussion looks like.
Second, I broke my ankle. That not only meant being unable to spend a lot of time online (my Mac is a desktop, and having my foot down was not a good thing), but depending on people. While I love my blogging friends (especially the women I blog with at Out of the Ordinary), and they offered prayers and concern for my situation, ultimately, it was not they who brought food, drove me to appointments, or came to visit when I had cabin fever. It was the people in my circle of friends and family. I was especially served well by my children. My sons regularly took turns driving me to and from school when they were able, and my daughter came a few times to help out when my husband had to be away. My husband's help was nothing short of fantastic. I know many women don't like the idea of depending on a man, but I sure am thankful he was able to get up early with our dogs, do the grocery shopping, and much of the cleaning; this on top of a very busy job which is especially busy in the month of December.
I really love reading blogs and using social media. When it begins to irritate me, it's easy enough to mute the voices I don't want, ignore them, or just walk away. The past year, I've seen the value in doing what my husband always suggests: ignore. I think the best analogy of social media is the one that says it is the "town crier" of the day. And there are so many town criers, and some of them are not nice. It shouldn't surprise me that some Christians conduct themselves in a truly awful way online, but every now and then I just can't believe it. I need to ignore it and be committed to not being afraid to speak truth, but to speak it without being a brute.
All in all, this year has shown itself to be, through God's provision, a good year. That doesn't mean it was absent any blips on the screen or any struggles, but considering one of my closest friends closed out 2016 by burying her son a month before he was scheduled to get married, I'm not going to complain.