I have a radio that I listen to first thing in the morning to see what the weather is. And sometimes when I’m sleepless at night. I need to know how to dress and whether the car needs defrosting. My cell phone is smart but not smart enough to talk to (no Siri). I can call or text people, take pictures or little videos which I can send places, actually go on the internet or to Facebook to search around, but the screen is so small and the alphabet buttons so small it is a bit of a chore. I prefer to use my new computer. So big, so Touch-Smart, so fast, with a nice big keyboard. There must be something my computer can’t do but I can’t think of it. I can actually dial people with a touch and talk to them (apparently through the screen!). I can find lost friends, type letters which I send to a printer that spits them out, search how to make guacamole, print photos that I send from the phone or my iPad.
Oh, yes. The iPad! Katy gave it to me for my birthday and I was wary of having yet another technical challenge, but we are friends now — sort of. I am well aware the my iPad has icons and talents that I haven’t begun to appreciate. But it’s great for email, super-great for Scrabble, and it, too, can take photos and videos–bigger and better than those on my phone. Then there’s FaceTime. Katy in Indiana and I in Connecticut can see each other and chat back and forth in real time with our real faces. We did that when her daughter was being married and she modeled her mother-of-the bride dress for me before the wedding. Just recently Dolly in Florida also got an iPad and we, too, enjoyed seeing each other as we talked.
Of course, I have a radio, in the house and in the car. My car tells me the ambient temperature and its radio doesn’t mind playing a CD for me. The in-house radio not only plays CDs but tapes. (Remember cassette tapes?) Upstairs there is an older TV which is devoted to playing VHS tapes–some of which actually feature ME!
Then there’s the TV which has about a 100 channels and which, too, can play CDs and DVDs on a much bigger screen. Surely I am technologically blessed. When I want to “reach out and touch someone” I can do it without ever leaving the house. I must admit all this technology helps me keep in touch with family, especially family too far afield to see personally. There are a couple of great- grandsons I have never met.
So, it’s good. But sometimes I feel so scattered. I head to a machine when I am looking for human interaction. Something to amuse or entertain is always SO available at all times that there is a tendency to latch onto something — anything — to while away the time. One’s brain can become, in a way, tethered to the machine. I think we all know people who simply cannot listen to what we say when a TV program is playing which holds their interest — even though they’ve been watching TV all day and have hardly spoken a word to a real person.
Sometimes I like to break away, to set my mind free and let it wander where it will. To muse and ponder eternal verities. To think of where I’ve been and what I’ve learned and consider what to do next.
Lazarus has a different story. Lazarus was an atheist and is now a Coptic monk. His story begins here with the video below. Lazarus says Christ “went apart” to pray and we should do likewise. If you keep your world small and your life simple you are less likely to get scattered. As he says, “You can’t fall out of a cradle.”
Is it time to “go apart?” Once again, it’s all about choice.
Here is a link to The Cloistered Heart. There is a middle way between the frenetic, all-consuming busy-ness of today’s world and and the set-apart life of a monk. The Cloistered Heart is a beautiful blog which tries to take you there.