It was a high anxiety week for me, an emotional one filled with real and imagined slights and struggles.
I was cropped out of a family photo. I announced my decision to leave Facebook. I felt less alone and more connected than I had in years when I got requests for real addresses and contact information from people who didn’t want to lose touch. Thank you to all who did so.
Still, the anxiety increased, my decision to leave the platform of modern communication convinced my insecure inner demon that I would lose everyone the moment I hit the delete button.
Then messages starting coming.
Ann Patchett’s “The Sacrament of Divorce” gave me a heartbreaking peek into her own divorce, into the power of the loss of that relationship, the sorrow of the ending of a promise, the sense of loneliness, separation, and distance that comes into the life of a divorced person. This unexpected gift poured from my Audible account as I felt the power of her words sink into my soul. Tears dripped onto the Christmas gifts I was making, tears of release long repressed. The story ended and I felt lighter.
I found “A Simple Act of Gratitude” when looking for something new to read on my Kindle. This story is one of a lawyer, recently divorced from his second marriage, estranged from his children, losing his practice, who decides to write a thank you note each day for one year. The story is one of growth and progression as he learns to let go of his long held onto grievances and open himself up to the good things he has in his life. He sends a thank you note to the barrista at the Starbucks who always remembers his name, he sends a note to his ex-wife, thanking her for being a good mother. He doesn’t change overnight, he isn’t magically transformed like Scrooge in a Christmas story. He still struggles to overcome his own sense of failure, sorrow, desertion.
I wrote a thank you note this morning. I doubt I will try to match his daily note sending, but I am going to try to be grateful for something in my life every day, counting my blessings, playing Pollyanna’s “Glad Game”, until I feel the fullness of my life as surely as I feel the losses.
Then Carole, a friend of a friend of a friend I met on Facebook sent me the following video. Just as I was beginning to seriously doubt my commitment to a life lived with less constant technological interaction, just when I was thinking I would keep my account and simply try to be more disciplined in using it, just when I needed this message the most. Thank you Carole. I cannot express how my anxiety and stress lifted away when I saw this.
My decision stands. It’s time to connect more intimately with those I love.