Some people don’t care for Facebook and others love it. The ones who dislike it usually do because they feel it’s “fake” or “too negative” or just not real. I understand that, but I happen to like it. I like to feel connected to my relatives and friends by seeing pictures of them. I slide past the ones that have too much drama or differing views and linger more on the pictures of family adventures or positive quotes. I “like” a bunch of positive quote sites or ones that are scripture based. It’s my way of letting in those reminders or nudges that I need just when I need them. Some days those posts are so meaningful and hit home so much that they make me teary (that happens more now than before.)
Yet with each smiling photo, there is a back story. Paul Harvey was frequently on in our family vehicle while I was young. His segment was “the rest of the story…” and would talk about the back story or give more info on what the headlines were talking about. I thought of that the other day when one of my favorite pictures of the boys popped up in my Facebook Memories. It’s of them at sunset standing by a lake. It’s a gorgeous picture. The “rest of the story” is that there were 10,000 mosquitos by the lake that night at dusk. The kids were getting eaten alive and they all tried to stay still long enough to get that photo then race back to the campground. I love the picture because I love the water and the lake and those 3 men in the photo. It also is a good reminder that things aren’t always as they seem. That mom that posted her smiling kids at the zoo… she might have just lost her cool before that about ice cream or them fighting about what animal they were going to see next. The photo of the runner who finished the marathon… his body is hurting more than you can tell, his toes are bloody and parts of his body are chafing that he’d rather not talk about. The person who has gained weight but took pictures anyway… maybe they are on medication that has caused it or 100 other reasons why. That doesn’t mean that we should stop sharing the photos. It just means that we should take them for what they are and not assume we know the back story.
We do that to people a lot. (At least I’m guiltier of it than I’d like to admit.) We assume we know “the rest of the story…” We assume that the person in the meeting was just crabby. We don’t know that they just learned that a friend of theirs had passed away. We assume the clerk at the store is having a bad day. We don’t know that this is their second job just to make ends meet. We assume the kid at school is naughty. We don’t know that he’s unsure of when he will eat again over the weekend, and fearful of what will happen to him or his siblings. We THINK we know the rest of the story but we don’t. We should just reach out to people more and care more. Me included. When I post pictures of our family this coming week in Duluth, you wouldn’t know the back story (except I’m telling you now. You wouldn’t know that my Oncology follow up is Wednesday and this was a good distraction to make me think about the Dr. less and of my family more. You might not know that the recent loss of friends unexpectedly has made me want to embrace life. You might not be aware that we know our 13 year old might not think a “Tall Ship Festival” with his family will be cool in 3 years, so we are going now while it is. We assume. You know what that does. (There is a saying that goes along with that – if you’re not sure, Google it) It leads us to either assume the best or the worst depending on what type of person we are. It makes us judge others when the judging is not ours to do.
My challenge to you is this… keep sharing pictures of your family, dog, cat, kids, and friends – whatever. Just don’t assume you know the rest of the story when you see someone else’s pictures, unless you’ve walked in their shoes. Even then, those shoes might be a different size. Share some love. Help people along their journey of enough – that good karma will come back to help you someday also. Peace be with you.