I am a huge fan of handwritten letters. I like sticking the stamps on the envelope and sending them off to a friend, just as much as I like seeing them in my mailbox.
The art of letter writing has been somewhat lost, if you ask me. Social media and online spaces make it more convenient to text someone or browse their feed to find out what they’re up to. Who writes in cursive anymore? Do people still collect stamps or stationary?
This is embarrassing, but once I realized I was spending hours (hours!!) on my phone everyday, I cut back on my social media intake quite a bit this year. I’ve done lots of spring cleaning — “unliking” a bunch of those facebook pages from way back when, “unfollowing” accounts I don’t know personally or people I don’t know well, and being much picker about who gets to fill my feed.
Coming out of the black cloud that often is facebook and instagram, I feel so much better. My anxiety went down, I felt more relaxed, and my ability to concentrate skyrocketed. I started exercising and reading more.
With a few clicks or finger strokes we can instantly chat with our friends from kindergarten or that one friend we met at summer camp. And while I’m all for staying connected, I believe social media weirdly obligates us to constantly stay in touch with more people than is realistic. Suddenly, friendships appear valid only if there’s a mutual online relationship. This makes me sad. This false sense of obligation weighs heavy on my mind.
Lent is a season where we’re invited to examine our lives and our hearts. It’s a chance to identify the unhealthy distractions and obligations around us and prayerfully let them go. Some things are harder to let go than others, that’s for sure. (FOMO is real!) But it’s not meant to be easy. As we anticipate the death and resurrection of Jesus we have the opportunity to actively (individually + corporately) reorient our passions and priorities to honor the eternal ramifications of the cross.
Maybe you missed the first few weeks of Lent. No worries then, wherever you find yourself, you’re invited to enter this space of reflection. Lent isn’t a six-week program that must be completed start to finish. There’s no trophy or point system. So please, pull up a chair and catch your breath. Let’s slow down and remember the Story together.
If you have an online presence, I encourage you to find time to apart from your feeds. You might like it. If you used the time you normally spend scrolling to write a letter, who would you write to?