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Facebook Friends vs. True Friends

During the early years of Facebook mania, I posted pics of my kids, events, travels, anecdotes and chanted with the universal FB voice: “Look how great I am; how amazing my life is; how many people like me!”

While I really wanted to post about how great God is, a social network broadcasting my religious beliefs simultaneously to acquaintances, distant relatives, former co-workers, college buddies and high school cliques on different levels of their journey just seemed as awkward as having that gusty wind blow your skirt up North.   Besides, residues of the old saying, that it wasn’t proper to speak of politics or religion in polite society, were still ingrained in me.   So for a few years, I toned down my faith and replied to posts in an appropriate secular comments: “Fabulous weather!” “Cute kids!” “Awesome job!” “Fun friends!” “Yo, wassup with the big eighties hair?”

Somewhere, I read that a popular Catholic speaker was criticized and asked why she didn’t speak in general Christianese instead of Catholicese so that she could broaden her audience and be more inclusive.  She took the advice of a saint that she had to speak from where she was because that’s where God strategically placed her.  She was adamant about not denying her identity, nor the truth.  “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

That’s when I started blogging very Catholicly and posted some of those on my FB page.  I uploaded Catholic articles, meme’s and reposted a few eyeball-rollers, too.  As my topics became more and more intense and controversial, the unfriending began.  I’m pretty sure if FB had a dislike button, I’d have collected as many frogs as Moses called down on Egypt and if there was a way to disown me publicly or remove shared blood, I’d have been sold into slavery like Joseph or denounced in favor of Barabbas.

Orthodox Catholicism is a leprosy on the ego. The outright rejection made me sympathize with the bespectacled teenager in braces who didn’t get asked to the prom.   But what’s a girl going to do?  “Unfriend Jesus” (to quote a wise friend), just so I can get spun on the dance floor?

No, thank you. I’m prepared to sit in the corner, sniff my petunia corsage and pity party with my invisible friend, Jesus. Where I’ll console myself with His words: “There is no one who has given up house, brother, sisters, mother, father children or land {insert FRIENDS} for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more.”

But my wonderful friend Jesus likes to prove me wrong consistently.   He soon proved to me that what he preached is applicable in this life, too. So as I became truer and truer to Jesus and His Church teachings, He compensated by replacing those contacts that I lost, with more friends. Not just in the blogosphere and Catholic sites where I connected with so many faithful Catholics who are serious about growing in the Catholic faith and fiercely evangelizing the world. But surprisingly, on the same brutal FB.

To explain: I realized that I had more in common with the people I’d overlooked as acquaintances when the traditional values of Catholicism became the subject.  When one of my articles got published at Catholic Lane, friends from a Catholic youth group with whom I lost touch, resurfaced. The true friends who remain on my FB page despite differences in politics and opinion, still share the most basic love for Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Love.

“Worldly friendship,” says St. Francis de Sales, “is profuse in honeyed words, passionate endearments, commendations of beauty and sensual charms. But true friendship speaks a simple, honest language, lauding naught save the Grace of God its only one foundation…modest, courteous, and loving –knowing no change save an increasingly pure and perfect union, a type of the blessed friendships of Heaven.”

The lesson I‘ve learned from the social network is that relationships last when God is at the source, when love and respect are at its core.  The best of friends know I’m not judging them when I write, but understand that I’m only sharing the truth of what I’ve discovered in God’s love so that they can be inspired to love Him, too. They’re clever enough to know that my posts are not aimed for a break-up because blogs and social media come with the inherent proviso:  Its not about you, its about me…and how great the truth is about my faith.  Even if you stop liking me.


Anabelle Hazard, Esq. is a practicing Catholic, non-practicing attorney, happy homeschooler, penniless novelist and long winded blogger at Written By the Finger of God 
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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Timothy-Burdick/22402125 Timothy Burdick

    Well said. I often find myself sifting through the walls of past “friends” who I am sure read my current Catholicese and think “hypocrite.” Perhaps that can be your next topic for an article here on Catholic Lane? :-)

    • Anabelle Hazard

      Timothy, I think you are a better writer so I leave the floor to you. I’m sharing one of your posts on my wall this weekend to maintain my popularity points with the masses.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Timothy-Burdick/22402125 Timothy Burdick

        Ha! I hope you shared “Catholicese”, you this article was what inspired it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Campbell/1164192160 Jennifer Campbell

    Hilarious and awesome, as usual, Anabelle. I know all too well about the unfriending that comes with proclaiming your Faith- family included.

  • Terry McDermott

    Well done, Annabelle! There’s a price to pay for being outspoken about our love of the Catholic faith, but the rewards are infinitely greater, even in terms of people with whom we bond on-line.

  • Nancy Shuman

    Great truth, wonderfully written. I’m sure there are heads nodding in affirmation as this post is being digested. Thanks for several things I’ll really remember… “a leprosy on the ego”… “unfriending Jesus.” Wow.

  • colwrite

    Great article. I have experienced some of the same, on FB and off. Thank you!