Back in late April, I wrote a blog about the Internet, Cell Phones, iPods, Computers, and Facebook. The main thrust of that blog was how our world these days is based almost entirely on being "connected", and how that phenomenon has led us to being "disconnected" in a way. One of the things I mentioned in that particular blog was an experience I had in the Dallas, TX. Airport in December, 2009. I was sitting patiently waiting on my flight and doing one of the things I love best: people-watching. Everyone, and I mean nearly EVERYONE, was either talking on their cell phones, texting, listening to their iPods, or simply sitting quietly working on their laptop computer, like the elderly gentleman sitting next to me. It was at that point when I noticed his distinguished wife sitting across from me doing…..nothing. Just sitting there. So I said, "What did we do before all these gadgets we have these days, actually TALK with each other?" I'll never forget what happened next. She just smiled broadly and seemed suddenly energized with enthusiasm to do just what I had mentioned. Talk. And that's what we did for the next 15 minutes or so before boarding our flight.
So, yesterday, I was working at my computer doing on-line course work for a new career opportunity that's come my way (imagine that, on-line classes!), and waiting on the assignment "timer" I was working on to hit zero, all the while moving from one "window" to the next on Facebook, when I noticed this post from an old high school classmate: "9 hours without internet - I tried to remember what it was like in the old days before the internet and was shocked at my realization." The comments that followed were very revealing. Basically, we've lost "touch" with one another like the "old days", the days before the internet, cell phones, etc. Days when we would interact with one another face-to-face. Days when we weren't all rushing around like crazed ants because the world today is at our fingertips and everything can be had in an instant. In other words, we've lost touch with reality and become disconnected with being "connected."
One of the focal points that's driving this latest blog chapter is because of my personal experience with a life-altering experience as a result of my own actions nearly 3 1/2 years ago. When one's freedom is stripped, and I mean stripped in nearly every sense, it CHANGES one's perspective on what that word means. I'll never forget what it was like the first time I sat in front of a computer after not experiencing that sensation for nearly 6 months. I was shocked. And I mean truly shocked at how much had changed. The speed, the additional information, the seemingly overwhelming amounts of data and news coming at me like a freight train. It was humbling.
But it did something else for me. It gave me pause to really and truly appreciate the value of freedom and life. It's the little things that bring us happiness; the gentle touch of another human being, the ability to look into someone's eyes and listen to them as they speak, being in touch with non-verbal cues from their body language, watching birds fly and listening to them sing in the early mornings, experiencing the rush of colors of spring-time, the incredible feeling of love and intimacy for another; kissing, cuddling, holding someone close in your arms, and on and on. When we lose our sense of reality, the ability to stay in tune with nature and one another, it diminishes our capacity to experience life the way God intended it to be. Mankind has created these communication devices and the ability to stay "connected" with one another that keeps us "disconnected." It's up to us to see that this connection doesn't destroy what truly matters; human contact.
So a resolution is in order. I challenge each one of you who has read this, to take the time each day and every day to turn off your television, your computer, your cell phone, your stereo, your iPod, your whatever that gives you “instant gratification”, and RELAX quietly. Go outside, look up into the sky, listen to the sounds of nature, smell the grass or the flowers or simply the air around you, feel the warmth of the one you love next to you, and breathe in deeply the beauty and the taste of LIFE. The one God intended for us to have.