Maybe this is a good solution to my Facebook addiction. If so, I hope it lasts. I'd never get off Facebook entirely, because it's how I stay in touch with relatives, some of whom I wouldn't even know well if not for Facebook. Not to mention friends I will never see again in person, but we can keep in touch because Facebook exists.
It finally occurred to me this morning that Facebook may not be the problem here. There are issues in the current "real world" that have me off-kilter; I think maybe I've transferred my feelings about those issues onto Facebook. In fact, I'm sure of it. The same thing happened last fall... a happening in my real world had me upset, and suddenly I could not stand social media. I began deleting friends, most of them for no good reason.
I learned in my ninth grade psychology class about transference: the redirection to a substitute, usually a therapist, of emotions that were originally felt in childhood (in a phase of analysis called transference neurosis ). I don't have a shrink, although I could probably use one, so I've been transferring my feelings to a silly website instead. (You could take the words "in childhood" out of that, because my childhood was great.)
What I wish I could do in these perilous times is go to Grandma's house. Unfortunately, she died in the 1960's and her house was torn down long ago. But in my mind I do go back to that part of my life, closing my eyes and imagining myself walking through that little house. I see the african violets on the closed-in porch. Then as I step up into the kitchen, the refrigerator is straight ahead of me, the porcelain kitchen table to the left of it against the wall. Straight to the left of me as I stand in the doorway is the Hoosier cupboard, looking very similar to this:
There's the surface where Grandma rolled out noodles and sugar cookies and cinnamon rolls. She sat on a tall stool when she did that, either because she wore out easily or perhaps because her knees or legs ached; kids never think old people they love might be hurting, unless they complain. Grandma didn't. But I digress. For many years Grandma had a kerosene range, so when you entered the house there was sometimes the faint smell of coal oil in the air.
In my musings, I leave the kitchen and walk on into the living room, knowing exactly where everything is. Things in Grandma's house didn't change much. With parents who moved often, I loved having three locations on God's green earth where things were constant: Grandma's house, Uncle Leo's house down the road from her, and my sister's house. Those were the most stable places I knew, where change was slow to come.
Sometimes I remininisce about the years my parents and I lived in Iowa. What a wonderful world it was. Hot summer nights sitting on the front porch listening on the radio to Joe Lewis becoming the heavyweight champion of the world while daddy threw punches and dodged blows as if it would help Joe win. Winters when I longed for snowfall. Summers when the world was my oyster because I could play outside as long as I wanted. Fourth of July everyone in the Guss, Iowa, community who bought fireworks pooled their resources, coming together so we children had a great show to watch when we gathered in front of Hampel's store.
It wasn't a perfect world, but I thought it was then. Guss, Iowa and Eagleville, Missouri are my favorite places to think about when times are difficult for whatever reason. And don't forget Grandma's house for the holidays.
The act of putting these words on a page makes me feel safe and serene. Everyone should have such good childhood memories as I do, with parents who sang often around the house and in the car; recently a lady from Eagleville named Velda (now a Facebook friend) told me about a time when she was riding somewhere with my parents and me in our car. I would have been no older than twelve; Velda said we were singing together as we rode, and she thought it the neatest thing at the time, that people would cut loose singing like that in the car. We did it all the time, it's how I learned to sing alto. I never thought it was unusual. But you know, having someone else recall it 65 years later is pretty special.
I began this blog entry feeling frustrated and angry and didn't know what I'd be writing about. Now I'm at peace, and God is near.
Be well, my readers.