Having worked in the entertainment industry and media for over a decade, I have a diverse group of friends. Creative people tend to have creative beliefs and often enjoy creative behaviors. My Facebook page – which I often use for networking – is a microcosm of the diverse and artsy world in which I live. There are liberals, conservatives, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, straight people, gay people, actors, DJs, alcoholics, Anglophiles, Steampunks, athletes, philanthropists, parents, bachelors, potheads, intellectuals, lawyers, and even a few people I don’t doubt have criminal records. Some of these people are mere cyber acquaintances. Others are genuine friends.
Now that I’m pregnant, people treat me very differently. Actually, it’s quite shocking. There are three main reactions to pregnancy these days:
- Happiness, support, encouragement, and wise counsel delivered upon request.
- Disgust, sexual innuendo, and the assumption that it was an accident.
- Patronization, and the giving of uninvited advise regarding everything from what I should and shouldn’t eat while pregnant, to how I teach, dress, feed, and discipline my child.
One thing I learned for certain: Nobody doesn’t have a strong opinion about pregnancy!
While many people forewarned me about pregnancy cravings, mood swings, morning sickness, and the more well known gamut of prenatal side effects, nobody warned me about this overwhelming instinctual desire I’ve developed to protect my child, both from the physically and spiritually harmful. For example, I used to think that a particular young man who bragged about driving home drunk on his Facebook profile was merely a dysfunctional idiot. But once this baby began kicking in my belly, said young man became a danger and a threat, just one caliber less than a homicidal maniac.
I became more aware of people and things that disturbed, stressed, or unnerved me. I grew instinctively determined that my baby deserved a calm and level-headed mother, and if someone or something was going to upset my emotional balance, that someone or something must be shunned and avoided. The sexaholic, the chauvinist, the racist, the Jesus-hater, the drug addict, the abortionist … all these people had to be put far from me. They could not be allowed to disturb my tranquility, and thereby pollute the spiritually peaceful environment I was determined to provide for my daughter.
At first I wondered, “Wow. Am I becoming intolerant? These people’s actions and lifestyles have no physical impact on mine. Why am I so bothered by them?”
Then I read Proverbs 4:23-27:
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet, and be steadfast in all your ways.
Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
Granted, back in the day, there was no internet. In order to see wicked things one had to walk outside one’s front door. In order to hear vile speech one had to visit the stomping grounds of vile people. In order to encounter, engage in, or practice carnal behavior, one physically traveled to a bar, Colosseum, or the den of a prostitute.
Not so today. Violence, adultery, pornography, profanity, victimization, and lies are only a mouse click away. One does not have to travel in order to find them. They are in our homes, on our TVs, in our music, and on our computers and phones. We are empowered to evil as well as to good.
How could Paul or Timothy have anticipated this strange freedom we modern people have when he said:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9
How am I supposed to obey this counsel when my Facebook timeline is full of other people’s perversity? The girl that defines herself by her sexuality and wears her lusts and passions on her sleeve. The young man who is constantly vile and profane and thinks it’s funny to mock Christ. The bigot who hates religious people, and believes talking about faith in public should be illegal. The sexist who blames rape, lust, adultery, and his own heart’s base temptations on women who ought to cover their faces and stay indoors. How do these people facilitate my ability to meditate on good and wholesome things?
When the whole Chick-fil-A fiasco went down, I voiced my opinion on Facebook that Dan Cathy – whether one agrees with him or not – has a right to free speech and freedom of religion. This resulted in some very revealing reactions from others. These included choice insults, such as, “I hope your daughter is born lesbian,” accusations of being a “homophobe,” “bigot,” and a “hater,” wishes of bad luck on my impending labor and my health, and even some threats from a journalist to write something nasty about me in his column at a prominent Houston publication.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reads:
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
By extension, there is …
a time to friend and a time to unfriend,
a time to enjoy Facebook and a time to deactivate one’s account,
a time to watch an intense movie and a time to stick with Pixar,
a time to witness to someone and a time to remove said person from one’s life.
There is even a time, as a musician in dire need of press coverage, to tell a journalist, “don’t contact me ever again.”
On Thursday, I deactivated my public Facebook account. I still have a private one with about 100 select family members and very close friends, and I still have my music page, but my public account with it’s 2,000+ diverse connections is temporarily off the grid. I plan to activate it again after the baby is born, because there are a large number of wonderful people on there that I’d be very sorry to lose touch with. However, when I do reactivate, I do not intend to tolerate a lot of the hyperbole and offensive posts I closed my eyes to before. This mother needs to be empowered to be a peaceful, supportive, loving, and focused parent for her child. I find I cannot do that when my mind is being inundated by the world, its foolish dysfunctional attitudes, its perpetual state of unrest, and its insatiable malcontent.