I've noticed recently that it's rare for people to be present in the moment. I feel like we are living in a world of distraction. I see this trend in myself on a daily basis. I recall the days when I didn't have a Smartphone. I just lived life. And I was pretty happy. I had no candy crush addictions, I didn't have to check my email every 5 minutes and I didn't feel the pressing need to post about my day. Every day. Maybe even more than once a day.
We are living lives where it is hard to be present in the moment. The moment has so many options. I notice this as I sit down to watch a movie with my family. We all have our phones. We are together but our attention is not on the same thing. We are in a moment together, but we are not all present. I observe this when I see people out for supper. Everyone on their phone, it's like the electronic guest of honour who's been invited out for dinner who gets the most attention. I see a guy riding his bike down the street. Yup, you guessed it. He's on his phone. It's actually impressive; he's likely tweeting,
"Guess what I am doing? #ridingabikewhiletweeting." But really? You are on a bike, enjoy the scenery and look out for the cars!
I know I am an offender in this area also. (I have mild panic attacks if I don't know where my phone is) But despite my own issues, I face real concerns about this as a parent and as a human being. Steve Jobs hoped that his Apple products would become an extension of the person. Part of us. Well, he sure accomplished that. I almost have to perform minor surgery to pry a device out of the hand of one of my children. I feel sometimes like a prison warden simply for asking that phones be put away at the table. Thanks Steve.
Where do we go from here?
I believe that God designed us to be in fellowship with each other. To experience community and family. Can we do that? Can we put away the device to look someone in the eye? Can we be fully present in the daily moments of our lives? If my kids are so attached to the technology they have now - what will the future look like? Will they transform into robots without any human contact?
I think it takes conscious effort. We now have to work at being present. But it's work that it is worth it.
I went to my son's football game last week and I put my phone away. I was there to watch his game and to support him. What if he looks out and every time he sees me, I am on my phone? He'll know I'm not fully present. I don't want to send that message to him. When my daughter comes home from school and is taking to me about her day, if I am checking facebook while we are talking she knows I am not paying attention. I could miss a moment. I value those moments. I live for those moments. I only have so many of those moments as my kids grow up. The moments pass us all by very quickly.
We need to be present in the moments.
Jesus did many miracles, they happened in a moment. I love that. A moment is a short time. It passes by before you even realize what is happening. It can be easy to miss. But incredible things can happen in a moment... things that you may never get to experience again.
Make those moments count. Be present in them all.