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Monday, February 17, 2014

There's A Story Behind Every Status

I don't usually like doing a "Bandwagon" post. 

My friend Ginny posted this at her blog today: 6 Ways To Tame Social Media Jealousy.

And it hit me in a special place today because....

Yesterday I put this as my Facebook status:

On Sundays Joe brings me coffee and then gets the kids ready for church. He's pretty amazing. 

That status fetched over 62 "likes" and a handful of comments.

All the comments on my page were complimentary. 

But some of the comments I received behind the scenes were filled with something else. 

One friend told me that her husband reminded her that he helps get their children ready.

Another friend told me that she felt defeated reading that about my husband because she struggles with wanting to change her own. 

I posted what I did as a way to publicly praise Joe. I so often find fault in him (and tell him all about it) that I thought it would be nice to point out some strengths. And the truth is, I was feeling guilty about laying in bed while he bathed and dressed all of the kids...and I don't think he was singing songs of joy while doing it either, if you know what I mean.

However, as with most things, what I intended isn't exactly what happened.

And I think it's important to share what happened mere hours after posting those words of praise about Joe.
The short version is: Joe has been working 6 days a week for the past month or so. While the paycheck is always nice, I have had the worst cabin fever/winter blues ever. I am hanging by the proverbial thread and I could snap at any moment. 

He knows this.

Because I tell him.

A. lot. 

So...when we finished eating after church, and 2 of the kids were still needing to be put down for nap, Joe got ready to go grocery shopping.

And I saw red.

I feel like I've been seeing his back a lot lately...as he's leaving to go to work or to the store or to shovel the drive or to work out.

And of course, he HAS to work, the driveway needed shoveled, he wants to be healthy, so that involves working out, and let's not even get started on what a gem he is for doing the grocery shopping...

The rational side of my mind can tell me all of those things.

It's the emotional, I-feel-like-I'm-all-alone-and-trapped-in-this-house, side that tends to yell loudest and be heard.

We ended up in a huge fight. I needed him to stay. He didn't understand why. I think he feared for his life at one point. I had visions of running away.

It was a tense and ugly 30 minutes.

The point of this isn't to talk about my husband behind his back (I got his permission before writing this), but to balance what so easily and often happens when we see a 17 word post on Facebook and don't get to see the nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes of someone's everyday life. 

Joe isn't perfect. Neither am I.

But we work at it. 

Most of the time.

And it is so important that we don't take one post (or 1000s) on social media and blow up a story in your own minds that we don't know to be true. 

I am queen of this, mind you. But I am usually on the other side of it--making up fanciful stories about people in my newsfeed.

So, let's give each other the benefit of the doubt, ok? Let's stop supposing we know what goes on behind closed doors and start being supportive of one another. 

That mom who posted about taking her "kiddos" out for a day of fun? 

Her husband may be absent at home emotionally and physically, and she chose to make a nice day for her kids.

That woman who is constantly posting pictures of her beautifully decorated house? Maybe her marriage is falling apart and she is choosing to surround herself with beautiful things to try to fill the emptiness.

That wife who posted about how awesome her husband is? Maybe she is trying to salvage her husband's dignity after she publicly humiliated him with some "good-natured teasing."

That woman who posts scripture after scripture? 

Maybe she's fighting the hardest battle of her life and those scriptures are more for herself. 

That girl with the page full of selfies? 

Maybe she hates herself so much that she tries to find the most flattering picture in order to feel better. 

I fight it: the urge to weave stories about who or how a person is based on a snapshot of their life. 

Being on the other side of it was an eye-opener. 

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