Do You See What I See? Probably Not

commentary editorial opinion

By Nick Reiher

What we see on Facebook may not be a true representation of reality.

I think Lincoln said that on one post. Or maybe Einstein.

Either way, the smiles, the laughs, the dozens of pictures of amazing sights, sometimes accompanied by sounds. The graduations, birthdays, births, reunions and, of course, food.

Depending on our state of mind, and the people posting all this stuff, we may post hearts, grabby hearts, laughs or wows. Maybe we’ll post some nice comments, like, “Oh, that looks like fun!” Or, “They grow so fast!” “Enjoy!”

In our minds, we might be thinking, “How can they afford that?” “Man, they are so lucky.” Or, “I sure wish I had their life.”

You know, like the Roger Miller song, “I wish I had your happiness, and you had a do-wacka- do-wacka-do …”

I don’t know what a “do-wacka-do-wacka-do” is, but I’m guessing its’s not anywhere near as good as the big Cadillac with girls in the front and girls in the back, and money in a sack, way in the back.

I’m not familiar with the personal lives of all of my Facebook friends, but I know enough of them to realize that despite the smiling faces and scenes of fun from backyards to Bucharest, that they have more than their shares of do-wacka-do.

I have found out many, way too many, times my friends are suffering from ailments, most often cancer. I will usually send them a Personal Message on Facebook tell them I’ll pray for them and offer any help I can. And I’ll check back periodically to see how they’re doing.

Often before I can do that, I’ll see them post pictures of family and friends, lots of smiles. If you didn’t know better, you’d say they were living the life of Riley.

What I see are friends who, with the support of family and close friends, are living their best life possible, not letting a medical setback define who they are.

I’m not going to blow smoke up your wacka-do, I have lost a couple Facebook friends to cancer and other illnesses. But to the end, they did not lose their smiles, their hope, their positive outlooks on life. Their faith.

Forget the trips and the other signs of the good life I see on their pages, that is what I yearn for most. I try not to dwell on health issues; I wasted too much of my 65 years fearing the worst as a talisman against that same worst.

But I do think, “What if that were me? Could I push myself to go beyond my fears and be go on with a good life, even through months and months of treatment? Or would I hide under the covers, feeling sorry for myself?”

One hint I have is that a few years back, I had an illness that laid me up for a couple months. After I healed enough, I went back to work, and despite a few missteps there, life went on. Went out to dinner. Traveled to Minnesota for a wedding. Then had another planned surgery to put me back together.

I learned the importance of having amazing doctors and a supportive family, especially my wife, who would not let me feel sorry for myself.

Through my Facebooks friends, I have learned the power of positive thinking, of pushing through, and letting family and friends help.

I’m also pretty sure of the friends who will be the ones praying for me and checking in now and then if I do have some type of misfortune. Because many already have.

Friends, keep posting all those fun pictures. I don’t envy you; I appreciate you.

Nick Reiher is editor of Farmers Weekly Review.

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