The commercial caught my eye this morning. The exciting news that was being shared was that now, with the latest technology, you can take your favorite movies and TV shows wherever you go. Not a new concept, I know. But I thought it was ironic that people were pictured carrying their tablets, phones, and laptops to the beach or the park or the mountains.
It reminded me of a certain canoe trip we took a number of years ago. Two of us were paddling (I won’t mention names in this brief tale) and two of us were reading magazines while making our way down a picturesque view of a glorious Spring morning on the river. The two with the paddles kept saying such insightful things as “Would you look at that?” or “I’ve never seen anything like that.” The other two were engaged in very different activities. With the sounds of birds singing, fish jumping … the sights of new foliage and sparkling water, we could hear the clear sounds of pages turning and comments about fashion or recipes. There was thought of shocking the two with heads bent over the magazines with alarming shouts of “shark!” or “squirrel” but cooler heads prevailed.
In our modern day, we cannot seem to enjoy the moment without dependence on technological and, I think, artificial stimulation. Do you really need to take “The Walking Dead” to the beach? Can’t you enjoy some time away from the normal rush without the latest episode of “Empire?” Is surgery required to separate us from the ever-present device that seems to provide so much of the entertainment we cannot live appear to live without?
We need someone to tell us to go out and play … or sit down and talk … or get by yourself and think, meditate, and pray. A friend told me of a long drive she had with her husband. They decided to spend the time in conversation! No radio, no iPod, no tablet, just talk. Wow, Samsung wouldn’t be happy about that.
Technology is great, but it can be too invasive. Put down the device and have a real conversation with a real friend. Spend time in solitude without checking your email. Jesus would spend all night in prayer. We have a hard time spending five minutes in prayer. Who would you rather be connected to? The Internet or the Incarnation?