Accompaniment

Wow.

A somewhat recent addition to my FB friends “unfriended” me last night after I repeated my plea for no political comments on my wall. Unlike Twitter, which was my political butt-kicking stomping ground for many moons, FaceBook has always by design been my apolitical refuge.

Someone had posted a politically tinged comment to an innocuous status of mine. The “unfriender” responded with a long mean screed questioning not only the first commenter’s political preferences, but calling him a few choice names in the process.

My request:

“Quick public service message. I dearly love and adore each and every member of my FB family. In these many moons, my friendships have managed to span the gamut of all political parties as well as several countries. So, my Facebook has become sort of a mini UN (without the yucky connotations, thank you.)
Especially after the events in my life the last several months, I’m not interested in rehashing contentious political happenings nor do I want to have to referee squabbles of anything more weighty than Star Wars vs. Star Trek.
Each one of you mean more to me as human beings and beloved friends. Your political viewpoints aren’t even on my radar and I’d like to keep it that way.
Please let me just love you guys for you.
Thanks.”

Boom.

“Unfriend”.

WTH?

Looking at this person’s time line, in a brief (very brief, I might add) contemplation to send another friend request (I didn’t) – I discovered that it’s one hate filled, anger filled post after another. I had no clue that someone could feed such negativity and hostility day in and day out.

As I was pondering that decision (and yes, I do ponder), hours later I got a DM from a long time FB buddy thanking me for all the smiles and love throughout the last year.
It had been a rocky, emotional twelve months for her with more critically serious health problems than I’d like to recount.
That one message put “the year that was” into sharper perspective for me.

I’m reminded of the round (a canon perpetuus or infinite canon if you will) that I learned ages ago: “Make New Friends, but Keep the Old. One Is Silver and the Other’s Gold” where everyone began singing the same lyrics only at different intervals.

Those words have been playing in my head this morning.

You’ve all entered my life at different intervals, and yet we’ve created a harmony of sorts that is meaningful and beautiful.

Yes, I still FaceBook. It’s what we old farts do, for Pete’s sake.

Conservatively, I’d estimate that perhaps as many as a hundred of my FB friends are all literally facing life or death health crises. Cancer, kidney failure, heart disease, amputations, multiple sclerosis. Hundreds more have suffered an unspeakable loss in their lives recently. Some of my friends handle it with grace and aplomb, some bitch to high heaven. And I love, yes, love each and every one of them.

There are far too many who did not make it through 2016 to greet the New Year with me. And I’m sadly certain that many more won’t be around to ring in 2018. Some other new friends, and some old ones as well unfortunately, have seemingly chosen to base their friendships on superficiality. Those are the ones who won’t be accompanying me into next year either through their own volition or mine.

But the rest of them – they’re my precious jewels. For the past 10 years, I honestly have made it my mission to find something, to say something, to share something that I think might bring a smile to someone’s face – and to share at least one thing like that every day. I realize I’m not curing cancer or bringing world peace – I’m just trying to make our shared journey through the cosmos a little less unpleasant. And in the end, that’s really all I can do.

Other than a smattering of quasi-political tweets, I’m shifting my focus on Twitter as well. Admittedly, I was knee deep in the mud slinging during the campaign and, it was draining. That level of outrage, that seething anger (okay, some damned funny snark, too) is unsustainable for me.

Sorry peeps. I cannot “do” the hate anymore. If the worst thing in your life is politics, God love you – you’re blessed to have only that weighing on your psyche.

Also no longer welcome in 2017 are negativity, doubt and gossip (unless it’s really juicy and salacious). (JK).

In my introspection of the Year-That-Was-a-Dumpster-Fire, I’ve come to the conclusion that we hate 2016 because in the end, it challenged our beliefs; it stripped bare our hypocrisies; and it ultimately forced us to confront our own mortality.

But I’ve also found something to love from the Year That Sucked Scissors – amazing bits of joy and comfort from my myriad acquaintances on social media. The shared humanness, the compassion, the concern – that’s what I want to hold on to ever so tightly as we face a new year, a new beginning.

I choose to have the positive, the hopeful, the compassionate and yes, the silly/funny accompany me into 2017. I’d be honored to have you join me.

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