“’And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’. I’m tryin’ real hard to be a shepherd.’” Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino
As I did exactly a year ago(An Advent first), I began my Advent fast after evening Mass. The morning has been one of silence: the silence of a smartphone used merely as phone and not social media device, the silence involved with a nutritional cleanse, and as hoped annually, the silence of prayer. I prayed the Liturgy of the Hours for the first time in months. It felt wonderful to be grateful and to be still. However, soy realista and I own who I am. This will be a struggle as it was last year(Ruining Advent.) It’s possible that by tomorrow, my emotions will get the best of me and my thoughts will run ragged. Como decia Cantinflas, ahi esta el detalle.
My biggest challenge isn’t my compulsion to be online. It is my propensity for negative emotions and thoughts.
Gossip, sarcasm, and shade throwing may be humorous and entertaining but they also allow me to give voice and free reign to anger, resentment, and meanness. As evidenced by this year’s Kermit meme of the moment(and I do love me some Kermit, My love of Kermit memes), everyone struggles with their dark side.
I’m not the only one who feels that the f@#*ery is too much at times. But I’m the only person who can control how I act and think given the situations and people around me.
Recently, within hours of declaring myself unwilling to deal with negative online conversations about the election(Holding the door open,) I became engaged in an online debate about immigration with someone I’ve known since the eighth grade. In the past, we’ve been able to respectfully disagree. This time, I couldn’t believe the angry tone that was taken. While I pointed out facts, my acquaintance responded with vitriolic statements. When I realized I couldn’t argue with logic and reason, I took the step of silencing the discussion by blocking my account.
I flirted with the idea of sharing screen shots of the conversation or of composing a blog about the situation. I’m glad I didn’t follow through on those actions. I would have gained nothing other than temporary satisfaction. While I’m hilarious when I’m petty, I do more good when I keep those cruel thoughts quiet.
The daily struggle will be one mostly within me. I will have to be mindful and purposeful. Every day, I will have the opportunity to be my best self. Every day will be another day to sustain the peace offered by silence and compassion. May I fast from the noise of anger.