Monday, September 24, 2012

Be Where You Are

I noticed it first at the Olympic Games in a way I’d never noticed it before. I was sprawling on my couch with my husband, watching the parade of nations. We had DVR’ed the opening ceremonies so we could really watch them in that sweet time after the chores but before bedtime. I’ve liked this part since I was a kid. I can still hear my mom saying, “We’re watching the Olympics because they only happen every four years!”

So I grew up watching hours of sports we never knew were sports, admiring the dedication athletes put into their chosen field, cheering for our country, and hoping against hope that this gathering might truly work toward an expanded sense of what we all have in common in the face of all that divides us.

And the parade of nations is just fun. You see styles of dress from all over the globe as the athletes beam with hope and expectation. But then I noticed something else, something I see all the time…

...they were on their cell phones. Oh, blessed technology that is such a curse! I wondered how any of these athletes could truly be where they were, in that moment in time, walking in as representatives of their nation, while simultaneously trying to record it.

There are so many amazing moments in the time I spend with my son. And many times, I’ve been grateful for my smart phone’s ability to snap pictures and shoot video. But I’ve also noticed how, as he grows older, he tries to look around the phone at me.

The very act of trying to capture a moment takes me out of the moment. I become the photographer-director, trying to get the perfect shot, instead of being mommy. And if these pictures are for our family, regardless of how much I enjoy the likes on Facebook and Instagram, maybe I can just trust our memories and leave the phone in my pocket more often.

The way my son does many things jars me out of preoccupation and back into my life. Like the way he eats. My son has not learned the habit of scarfing down his food yet. I don’t know where I learned it, to be honest. I just realized recently that I don’t really taste much of it most of the time because I’m already thinking about what I need to do, what comes next. I’m so busy preparing for the next thing, I’ve missed the thing right in front of me.

On the other hand, James eats like a connoisseur. It can be cold green peas, factory-shaped meat sticks, yogurt, or something we've actually cooked, but he’ll take a bite, stop, look at me and make this heart-felt yummy noise. "Mmmm!" As if to say, “Mom, this is so good! I am enjoying this!” And I look down at my plate, which is usually empty already, and wonder if I pause to savor, not just my food, but my life.

So I’m trying to slow down and be a little more intentional. I’m trying to be where I am, not anywhere else. I’m trying to remember what I did before my smart phone was an instant gateway to things that are interesting, but not always good or helpful or healthy. And I challenge you to do the same.

As Ferris Bueller said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in  a while, you could miss it."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for joining the conversation!