Is This Real Life?

Ever find yourself sitting at home on a Friday night with nothing better to do but mindlessly meander the pages of Facebook? Don’t feel bad; we’ve all been there (and probably more times than we’d like to admit to). When boredom strikes, social media sites like Facebook or Twitter can seem like the perfect antidote.

I remember sites like this started gaining popularity when I was in my first couple years of high school. What seemed like a neat idea to begin with sometimes left me longing for simpler times, when young people could leave the vanity and meaningless comparisons behind when the bell rang at 3:00pm.

Maybe you can relate. Today, it’s way too easy to look at someone’s Facebook— which by its very nature is only going to show you the highlights of an event or individual— and think they have the life you’ve always wanted. As if being a young person wasn’t already challenging, now we have a stage to potentially play out the drama of high school for the rest our digital lives.

We love using our Facebook pages to define ourselves for everyone else to see, but no matter how many times we update our status or find different pages to “Like” (and maybe “Dislike” someday soon, if we get our way), we are more than a collection of facts and personal preferences. We are more than the sum total of the 500 pictures we are tagged in on our profiles. As Blessed John Paul II put it in his Letter to Families:

Human beings are not the same thing as the images proposed in advertising and shown by the modern mass media. They are much more, in their physical and psychic unity, as composites of soul and body, as persons. They are much more because of their vocation to love

This vocation to love is something we all have, regardless of age, job, or Facebook status. Maybe no one will call you to go out on Friday night, but God is always calling on you to love. Let’s stop comparing and start loving.