Staying in the present

We learn in Advent to stay in the present, that only the present well lived can possibly lead us to the fullness of life. Life is not meant to be escaped, we learn, as the liturgical year moves from season to season, from feast to feast. It is meant to be penetrated, to be plumbed to its depths, to be tasted and savored and bring us to realize that the God who created us is with us yet. Life, we come eventually to know, is an exercise in transformation, the mechanics of which take a lifetime of practice, of patience, of slow, slow growth.

Sr. Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year

Advent is over, Christmas is nearly over, but this passage articulates my experiences withdrawing from social media (four full days without Facebook and counting, and I skipped my midweekly allowance. So far I’m only missing Facebook Marketplace, ha). Namely, that without it, I am simply more present. I’m not mentally somewhere else nearly as much. I sit in a chair and pick up my knitting or say ‘yes’ to that handicraft my son wants to make or read a book or go upstairs to listen to a podcast and stare into the middle distance or tidy up a counter top or a room or chat with my husband or with my kids.

The great temptation of social media is escapism – I can ignore the messes and my responsibilities and my to-do list. I can ignore my own hobbies and the things that I enjoy and want to do. I can get so wrapped up that I am effectively somewhere else. But only the present well-lived can lead to the fullness of life. Which is why it so often leaves me and, I would assume others, empty.

The solution, then, is to remove that which takes us out of the present, and take up that which keeps us in it.

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