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Instant Gratification Society – Step Back!

October 23, 2010

As I awoke sitting 20 ft off the earth perched in a tree stand secure in a safety harness, my first thought was, “what did I miss?” Yes, of course I had my bow in hand and was curious if any venison on the hoof had passed by, but my question echoed deeper than that…

I had been out in creation enjoying the cool breeze, sunrays glimmering through the trees, squirrels frantically preparing winter stashes of nuts – I had escaped the hustle and bustle of life for a few hours. I had no cell phone, no email, no internet. Time seemed to stand still for a few hours and I had fallen asleep given the chance to just slow down and relax. No distractions!

Is distraction not a major issue in our world today? We have all these modern advances that bombard us with immediate information – news, opinions, and deadlines fly at us from all directions. Technology has advanced so quickly that tools once thought of as mere conveniences now are relied on as means of communication. A phone that a few short years ago used to be plugged into a wall in our homes, is now a computer in our pocket – many travel throughout the day with the internet in their palm.

So many news stories as of late have broken and the headlines run across the country and around the world at a rapid pace – the facts often being left behind, far behind and seemingly not even needed for the story to hold weight. Our access to information is almost to easy and too fast. Is the pace of this information at our disposal healthy for society?

As if our daily lives of kids off to school, ballgames, dance clubs, bible studies, work, eating, and bedtime routines were not enough to fill our days – now we must cram in texting and emailing as we commute in traffic! I thought the bluetooth earpiece was clever and safer for business folks driving, but I see more on people walking in the stores than I do  drivers. Really? Are we that important as people? I think in the midst of all our technological progress we have lost touch with who were are and what we were created for.

Do you ever write a note and send it snail mail? Read a book that has a spine and not on a Kindle or Ipad? Read the newspaper without scrolling down with the mouse? Make a phone call by actually dialing the numbers and not speaking a name into the device or mashing a speed dial button? Can we even get off the couch to turn on a tv anymore or do we just freak out because we cannot find the remote? What hard work it was to flip the album over versus selecting a playlist on the iPod! Does anyone heat water in a teapot anymore? Can you relate to any of these?

I challenge you to slow down this week. Perhaps start in the morning – cook breakfast like our Mom’s used to, on the stove top and not the microwave. Read a book, take a walk, maybe break out Monopoly, Operation, Uno and spend the day as a family  playing games! Take a nap in silence. Can you run errands one day without taking your cell phone and not feel naked? Try using your key to unlock the car door and not the nifty remote.

All of these advances are great when used and not abused. However, as a nation maybe we are not ready for all that we have. Are we disciplined enough to handle it all? Yes, it all makes life “easier” and quicker, but do we really need the decay to happen faster yet?

The sun had set, it was time to climb down from the tree. No deer seen tonight, but relaxation achieved! I was unaware of being tired but the nap was so refreshing. A few hours removed from the chaos that life throws our way can recharge the battery. Can you do without a couple of modern distractions? Is there any technology idolatry in your life you need to address?

Perhaps take a few of these fast paced moments each day and exchange them for silence, to be still and listen…

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls. – Mother Theresa

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