Lenten discipline of the day:
Turn it off
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is turn on the radio. While I am showering, I listen to the news. When I go downstairs, I turn on the computer, read the news online, check Facebook and read scripture from the daily lectionary (also online). After prayer and coffee (also usually in front of the computer screen), I drive my son to school while listening to "his" music. Depending upon my schedule, I will spend more time in the car during the day, listening to news or music. When I am in my office, I an usually in front of a screen, writing or reading, with music playing. When I get home at night, I'll listen to the radio again while cooking dinner. My husband will have the television on in the family room and, I'm embarrassed to admit, the television will very likely remain on for the remainder of the evening whether anyone is watching it or not. Silence does not happen in our house except in the wee small hours of the morning.
And, of course, there is that blasted iPhone which lives in my pocket, my purse, on my nightstand and in my palm through much of the day.
I wonder what would happen if I just shut it all down for just one day during Lent? No television. No radio. No iTunes or iPod. No iPhone. No email or Twitter. Just one day to…what?
Maybe if I shut it all down for a day, there would be room to think, as Paul suggests to the Philippians, about things that are true and good. Once I got over the sheer panic of being disconnected, would I have the space to dream God's dream? And would I be better able to connect with others?
Whenever I think about the end result of too much "screen time" in my life, I remember a great scene from the movie, "True Stories" featuring the Lady Who Never Gets Out of Bed. I think a lot of us are like her, except these days we can take our televisions or other entertainment with us wherever we go! See the You Tube video below. Lots of us suffer from "that commercial feeling."
It's worth a try. I'll let you know how it goes for me. I have vacation coming up, so it will be a good time to take that media break. And if you take a "day off" from electronics during this Lenten season, let me know how it goes for you!