unwrapping presence.

This past Saturday, my girls and I took a walk to the local park for a picnic lunch.  It was incredible weather, they were in great moods, and we had peanut butter – so why not?  Looking back I noticed something phenomenal about a picture I took, that I wanted to treasure as the years roll on.  Look carefully, and see if you can notice what is unique here:

Give up?  Notice that none of my daughters are holding a cell phone, or an iPod, or an electronic device of any sort.  This is something I’m guilty of myself.  Even when I get to the point where I leave the iPod at home.  Even at the point where I can turn the phone off (or on vibrate).  I still suffer from the illness known as “I-need-to-watch-for-things-I-can-share-with-others.” syndrome.

This is not one of those posts saying “I’ve figured this out, and conquered it, and you should too.”  This is a post confessing my illness from in the midst of it, and saying you might be where I am too.  How many times in the past week have you quickly grabbed your cell phone in order to snap a picture of something incredibly cute that’s happening?  How many times have you had a thought, or heard a quote and said “I need to tweet that right now!!”   With our increasing ability to be connected, and share real-time updates, we forget – we don’t always need to.  Let’s work together against this.  Why?

1. Because we have these moments.  Sure, remembering is important.  Being able to share moments with others are important.  But if I’m sacrificing being 100% present to take in this moment, so that I can snap a cell phone picture or condense my experience into 140 characters or less….is it worth the sacrifice?

2. Because our children are watching.  Our patterns of behavior will become their patterns, multiplied.  You may have already seen it on the news:  When an accident happens, or someone is attacked on a subway, what is the popular response of those nearby?  “I better grab my cell phone and start recording this!!”  It’s almost humorous, to watch footage on major news networks, captured by someone a few rows back on a plane – seeing several other phones in front of them recording the same incident.  We are training our brains, and the brains of our children – that capturing footage/information is more important than being able to fully experience/respond to what is happening in your present environment.

3. Because we can be made new.  As we grow, our brains grow.  They form patterns, and synapses grow stronger or weaker with use.  This continues even as we become adults.  Scriptures tell us over and over again that God wants us to be made into “New Creation”, and talks about us “being transformed by the renewal of our minds”.  This isn’t magically going to happen simply by praying before bed.  We believe there are things God does to transform us, but we also believe God has created us in such a way that we can become transformed as we walk with Him!

So what does this look like? I’ve come up with some goals.  The tricky part will be, when we achieve these goals we’ll want to collect them somehow to be shared later.  That defeats some of what we’re working against in the first place!!

1. Don’t snap it!!  At least once a week/day (depending on your addiction), when something happens and you feel the urge to capture it on camera, and send to your flickr/facebook friends – DON’T.  Keep that phone in your pocket.  Enjoy the moment, soaking it up selfishly.  Allow yourself to be fully present, and respond accordingly.

2. Don’t tweet it!!  At least once a week/day (depending on your addiction), when something happens/is said and you feel the urge to share it with your twitter/facebook friends – DON’T.  Keep that phone in your pocket.  Enjoy the moment, smile at your own witty comment, share it with someone next to you, or call a friend if you absolutely have to.   Allow yourself to be fully present, and respond accordingly.

I don’t want to see any cell phone pictures or tweets about the outcome of your experiences…but if you’d want to share what you can remember after some time has passed…feel free. 🙂

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One response to this post.

  1. To truly enter the moment and experience it for what it is–that is a treasure. It is so hard these days to experience those God given moments without technological interference. Thank you for the encouragement to pause and really see.

    Reply

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