D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

2018 (and a lil' sabbatical)

I miss writing. I miss my beautiful, uncomplicated brain. I miss not waking up in the mornings with headaches. I miss being a confident person. I miss the way essays would unfurl behind my eyes as I walked through my neighborhood. I miss not being in constant conflict. I miss the days when my thoughts were my own, and I wasn’t constantly judging them through a filter of what I should be saying or how someone would perceive it. I miss creativity.

It’s time for a social media sabbatical. I have been ruminating lately on how my soul is not big enough for Twitter; I am not grounded enough to take in the constant bad news interspersed with humor and intelligence and sermonizing. Every morning I have a crisis of faith as I scroll and scroll and scroll through the litany of despair. I mainly follow activists, and the stories are all different yet alike in the suffering. Every morning I read and the old fears come back to settle like a dense and muddled cape I clutch tightly to my shoulders:

does God even care? 

and

is God any good?

I think the answer to both of those questions is yes, by the way. But in order to live as if I believe that, I need to feed my soul. I need to take a break, mostly due to my own immaturities. I fluctuate between the poles of self-importance (I need everyone to know my opinion on this breaking horrible thing) and paralyzing self-disgust (I am not doing anything with my life and I will never be right or good so what even is the point). I am looking forward to the chance to remember how small I am and yet how I live my actual life really matters.

To those who love social media and find it life giving: I hear you! I have made so many amazing connections, and I have learned so much from the voices I follow. Especially for people in isolated or homogeneous contexts, social media can broaden and expand our worlds and our theologies in profound ways. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves about the real effects of technology and our unfettered access to trauma.

In some ways I am very much an addict, and I expect the process of taking time away will be tough. I plan on stepping away from social media (except my private instagram account) until Easter. I will be on once a week to share links to articles and such (I already have a few writing projects planned that I am very excited to share). I am having my husband change my passwords and everything, since I don’t have much self-control.

One thing I know I will really miss is the goofy and helpful nature of y’all. I think one of the main reasons I am so active on places like Twitter is because I am a little bit lonely in real life. I don’t think this is a negative thing, but it is one side effect of being the mother of young children and living in a neighborhood where my friendships are primarily with people from very different backgrounds. It is a lovely, chaotic, beautiful life. But I miss out on pop culture conversations or connecting with Christians doing good work around our country or being intellectually challenged. And social media has offered me all of these things! To everyone who interacts with me, I am so grateful for you. And I will see you again soon.

In the meantime, I will be diving into writing more (and hopefully longer pieces). You can always email me (I can’t promise I will get to it in a timely manner, but I read and treasure every message). You can sign up for my newsletter, which I will send out once a month. In the newsletter I will let you know where I am traveling and who is inspiring me and what I am reading/listening/watching.

//

Here’s to a 2018 fill of digging deep inner wells. Here’s to accepting who we are, instead of wishing to be someone we are not. Here’s to learning how to forgive others and ourselves. Here’s to holding people accountable for their actions, and to commiting to the life of conflict that true peacemaking entails. Here’s to finding our place in the movement. Here’s to not missing out on what is right in front of us. Here's to doing the hard work of soul-care, perhaps the biggest act of resistance we have.

 

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