Friday, September 11, 2015

Facebook Pictures as Prayer

Yesterday, a friend asked why someone would post a picture of their dinner on Facebook.  We had a great discussion.

I think we post our pictures in part because our cell phones and tablets with camera power make it so easy.  Our devices can connect almost instantly with Facebook--push a button, and it's on the FB page.

I think it's also because Facebook has become a journal, a logbook, a diary/scrapbook for so many of us.  I do wonder if we'll be able to access that material in 10-30 years.  Of course, I have a box of paper journals in my closet--they're not real accessible right now:  I have to dig them out of the box and flip through them with no good search tools beyond my reading skills.  But I expect to still have them in 10-30 years, barring catastrophe like fire. 

I think people post pictures because they're having a moment of happiness that they want to capture.  I rarely see angry pictures.  That's in direct contrast to the online articles that people link to--so much anger.  I rarely click through.  But I do linger on pictures.

I thought about my own morning yesterday.  I decided to make a quiche for breakfast because I had some Swiss cheese that needed to be used.  I went out to our little garden and selected herbs--the herbs that we planted a few weeks ago are flourishing.  As I snipped the bright green herbs which fell on the grated cheese and sautéed mushrooms, I felt such a swelling of contentment.

In some ways, not much has changed since my vegetarian days--I still get lots of joy from my tiny garden and from cooking good food.  I still look forward to the arrival of friends.

Last night, I dreamed about my high school friend who died in February.  We were filling up sodas at a soda station before we went into a movie.  It was so ordinary, and I woke up wishing we had had a profound conversation in my dream.  But I was also comforted by seeing her again, even though I know it was a figment of my subconscious brain.

On this September 11, I have the fragility of life on the brain.  I take comfort from knowing that I will be remembered, at whatever time I am snatched away from this life.  I am content with the efforts that I have made to live a life that's in alignment with my values.

And yet, I know that the alignment will slip if I'm not paying attention.  I think that reason, too, is why so many of us post our pictures on Facebook--it keeps us in sync with ourselves and with the ones we love so deeply.

I think of our Facebook pictures as a non-traditional form of prayer.  If we did it with intention, we could see it as talking to God, as saying, "Here's what happened to me today, here's what brought me joy, here's what I would like to have more of in my life."  As we post pictures to keep us connected with each other, we could pray for those whom we love.

And in capturing our lives, we can offer prayers of gratitude for all these things/people/events that we love enough to want to preserve and share on Facebook.

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