I have just finished reading my third book in five days. I’m a pretty quick reader anyway but certainly not having social media to distract me has greatly helped. Every spare five minutes I’ve had, when the kids have been busy and everything I need to do has been done, I’ve picked up my book instead of clicking on to Facebook or Instagram. Yesterday I started All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, tonight I finished it and my heart burst into a million kaleidoscopic pieces.
Without giving too much away, it’s about two young people who are both ready to give up on life. It’s a story of loss, mental health, abuse but mostly love and after I’d finished and wiped away my tears I sat thinking about the book and the wonderful characters, most especially Theodore Finch and then I thought about love. In the book, Finch, like Violet (the other main character), was ready to give up on the world but through love, he learnt to give everything of himself to the person he loved the most. He gave from the beginning and he gave right up until the very end of the book, he gave when he had nothing left to give to himself, and I realised that the reason he was able to love so profoundly, but also be loved so deeply was in fact because he had nothing much to live for. He began the journey of love empty and when you begin something empty, you have space just waiting to be filled and he filled it with his all. He received it with his all.
Isn’t that akin to what is happening in my life now? Unintentionally, my life is emptying – of the crap, the unnecessary and the worthless – and in its place will be a space just waiting to be filled with goodness and people of value. It’s already happening. As I remove the drain of social media so I am able to devote more time to reading and it has filled my world with purity and joy that the dirtiness of delving through other people’s dirty laundry can’t do.
I’ve re-discovered a love of documentaries and I’ve really began connecting again with friends and family on a deeper level. I’m talking to them more, I’m asking about their lives and I’m genuinely interested because without social media to fill in all the gaps, I know nothing. I’m empty. But my love and my need for real connection is evident and growing from a place deep within that has been numb for too long, my senses distracted by other people’s smalls.