I love being with people. Having meaningful conversations. I love listening to what they have to say -whether its just about themselves or their deep thoughts on issues of life. But I have found that in today's world, it is extremely difficult to have someone's full attention.
I so appreciate the advances of the technological age. To be able to send an email across the world in a matter of seconds is mind boggling. To let someone know by text, either a message of why I am tardy or that I am thinking of them is wonderful. And Google?? well it has helped me find information faster than I ever could. I remember going to the Library and hoping that I could find the info I needed: were the periodicals in?? Do young people today even know what periodicals are?? Probably Not.
And cell phones?? They are truly amazing. And how far they have advanced. You can get any information you want on your cell phone today that you can from your computer-that too is something that I cannot fathom how they made that happen!!
And then there's Facebook. What an ingenious thing that Mark Zuckerburg invented. How fun it is to find old friends from high school and keep up with my friends daily. I love it. But I have found FB to be both a curse and a blessing. Truly it is addicting.
But I believe we have lost the art of communicating.
Today's youth communicate more by texting, Facebooking than they do by actually speaking words to each other. Often they are in the same room with each other, on their laptops and they communicate via chat on their computers rather than speaking words out loud to each other.
So today I am going to let you in on my pet peeve: that today's technology and all its advances have hindered us from being fully present with others.
When we are with people, we constantly check our phones for messages or the latest on FB.
Are we that important? Are we the President of the United States, where we make decisions that can be life saving on a moment to moment basis??
We have become what used to be known as rude.
Some of Webster's dictionary definitions of rude are: lacking refinement, discourteous,unmannerly as in ill mannered.
Granted, I am guilty of this too. But I try not to have it be often.
How often am I in meetings, when numerous people are checking their iPhones or Blackberry's?? All the time.
How often do I meet with my college friends and they check their texts?? Constantly.
Why have we lost the art of being fully present to those we are with??
To be fully there. To listen intently. Or to enjoy the activities we are engaging in together??
Why do we check our phones at a ball game??? Haven't we spent enough money on those tickets to be invested in the game??
And for us, as followers of Christ? Can we not be fully present to HIM?
Recently I was at our Regional Staff meeting, and we were given the TREMENDOUS privilege of spending an hour in song worshipping Our God. And while I was singing, the person in front of me was checking their Facebook and one to the side of me was looking at their emails.
I wanted to scream. Cant you even be fully engaged with the LORD?? Can't you put down your phone to just be with JESUS?
How much time are we on Facebook, checking our emails, texting our family and friends?? How much time is that in comparison to the time we invest in our relationship with Our God?? with our relationships with our family and friends? When we are giving them our undivided attention?
When I am with my 2 grandsons, I put my phone away-in another room so I won’t be distracted. Why? Because I love these 2 little boys with all that is within me and I don’t want to miss anything that they are doing or discovering. And it is such a special time.
And when I happen to be with my friends in San Jose.? Well my phone plays no part in our time, because my time with those dear ones is so far between, that I just want to be with them and never even have to worry “than I might be missing something”. Nothing beats spending quality time with Mary Kay, or Ruth or Pam or Jean or Karen (if I’m lucky enough to see her!), or my dear June.
How much time do we spend on our phones. Interrupting our being with someone to take this call??
Again I ask, are we that important?
I know this might rattle some of you. But can I just encourage you to try for a day, even half a day, to put your phone down when you are with someone? To be fully present to them?
It might surprise you the joy it could bring you, seeing things you might have missed!