Warning: This post is faith-based, so turn back if this is not your cup of tea.
I read today that the average phone user checks his phone 150 times a day. 150? Not me. I can go a couple days without looking at my phone. I spent enough time answering phones at former jobs, that I avoid it all costs in real life. And I don’t text. Ever. So that makes me better than you, right? No, it doesn’t. Because I check my email and facebook and this very WordPressy blog nation. Sometimes several times a day. I’m guilty of wanting to be entertained and amused. Constantly. Anything to escape a harsh reality, the huge dip in the 401K, the unpeace in the Middle East, the recession–basically everything the Today show reports in the pre-9am hour, before they get to the fun stuff.
But as I was reading the chapter Isaiah today (in my Bible), about men making wooden idols out of the very thing used to bake their bread, I thought about men making pocketsized idols out of plastic. Little screens that show movies and play music and have games, all the things the devil uses to distract us from what’s real and important. That is no different than a golden calf, no different than making an idol of our job, of our economic status, of the bling on our aging skin. But that’s not who we are; that’s not what matters.
I don’t want to be the teen I saw, skating circles at the roller rink, staring at her ipad instead of engaging in the present moment, with the flesh and blood humans around her. I read my Bible in a book made of paper because I imagine if I read it on a screen, I would be tempted to check shinier bells and whistles on that screen as soon as I left the scripture. Instead of letting it sink in.
Ever since 9/11, little ticker tapes of needless information have run across the bottom of the TV screen, and they run across our minds. And then we lie awake at night, wondering why we can’t slow down, why we can’t let it go.
I admit I enjoy all these distractions, the ease of randomly picking a topic, doing a search, and then reading a post about it. Sometimes informative and engaging, even. But we won’t lie on our deathbeds, regretting we didn’t read enough blogs or check enough status updates. Facebook will be as over as myspace by then. Will WordPress exist? And how much crazier could it get? Will we have chips implanted in our heads like Humane Society dogs, telling us the time and temperature and names of celebrity babies just birthed? It is so hard to detach and let go. There is too MUCH information. It’s like trying to decide on a dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. We went from flipping through immediately outdated copies of Encylopedia Brittanica in gradeschool to having access to the power of Google–the world at our fingertips. We never have to wonder about song lyrics again.
But I need to check myself and remind myself what to read first thing when I awake. It’s not this. It’s not my phone. It’s not facebook. It’s not TV. But it IS the source of all that matters.