I was putting together a DIY liquid fabric softener last week, which consisted of water, baking soda, vinegar and essential oils. If you remember back to your high school science days adding vinegar to baking soda causes a reaction of bubbles so you have to add it very slowly. VERY sloowwwly.
As I was adding the baking soda to the vinegar and carefully watching the bubbles foam up then recede down I noticed the sound it made…if you closed your eyes you could almost hear the ocean. Almost.
As I am writing this, I am sitting on the third floor deck of a beach house, preparing to go spend the day at the beach, listening to the sound of the ocean, watching the waves as they ebb and flow, feeling the sand between my toes and salt water wind in my hair.
Somehow, the sounds of my DIY fabric softener fall short. Way short. There is no substitute for the real thing. I mean…
Nothing replaces the sites, sounds and smells of actually being on the beach, seeing the vastness of the ocean, hearing the waves as they roll in, smelling the saltwater, feeling the wind, watching dolphins gracefully swim in the distance or being still as the sun peeks her rays over the horizon in a good morning salutation…
No sound machine. No app. No nothing.
It had been a year since we’d been to the beach so my little DIY project certainly helped me “hear the ocean” in a pinch but it sure seems like life has become a DIY project. Substituting almost for real.
There are apps for anything…dating, exercising, meditating, communicating, games, maps, food, Bible (study), shopping…I’ll admit I use a few myself but it cannot replace the real things.
Take social media for example. In many ways, it has replaced the need for real relationships. We stay “connected” by scrolling through pictures that often times do not truly represent a person’s life. We throw out a “congratulations” or “so sorry for your loss” or “I’ll pray for you” often times without a second thought.
Don’t get me wrong, social media definitely allows for us to know what is going on in each others lives but we mustn’t let it replace the real thing. We’ve somehow become a culture that will post pictures of our favorite foods but not fix a meal for someone. We say we’re so sorry for someone’s loss rather than walk with them through their grief. We can judge each other harshly with the simple tapping of some keys without ever looking into a person’s eyes or having a conversation with them.
There is no substitute for being with each other, looking at someone’s facial expression, seeing the tears roll down their face, hearing the tone of their voice…the agony, anger or angst, the energy, excitement, and elation. There is no substitute for hugging someone who is grieving or high-fiving someone who is celebrating.
There is no text message that can replace having coffee or dinner with a friend and hearing about what they’ve been up to or what’s going on with them, their family, and loved ones. It’s one thing to get a text from someone saying I’m struggling. It’s a whole different story when they’re sitting on my front porch swinging, sobbing and sharing their heart.
Why? Why have we allowed social media to replace real relationships?
Because it’s hard.
It’s hard to find the time in our hustle-bustle lives. It’s much easier to type out a few words and be on our busy way. It sure makes us feel better…at least we acknowledged whatever it was.
It’s hard to invest ourselves emotionally and for the long haul in an instant gratification culture.
It’s hard to have difficult conversations with real people face to face. It’s easier to shoot someone a text because then you can really give them a piece of your mind, hit send and have no idea the reaction or consequences of your written words.
Shoot, forget the difficult conversation, we’ve become a generation that can’t have even a simple conversation. Look around when you go out sometime. People have their heads down, earphones in and phones on. We’re so connected to technology that it’s disconnecting us from our immediate surroundings.
I love the fact that I can skype my family who lives out of town or text someone something encouraging or post my thoughts on social media but it cannot and does not replace the real thing. Real relationships, real conversations, real hugs, real tears, real laughter and real happy dances.
Don’t be fooled, there is no substitute for the real thing.
Fiercely for YOU!