"We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship." --C.S. Lewis
Our culture promotes the use of cell phones and computers. But do you remember when e-mail was the main form of communication, or even before that when a physical letter was written on paper? When I was a teenager, I loved to send (and receive) letters. We moved from Colorado to Arizona the summer before my junior year in high school. It wasn't the greatest timing, but who can control these things? It was the third move I'd made in my life. Moving meant leaving behind some of my friendships from junior high and high school. I don't make friends easily or quickly. It takes awhile for me to open up and trust. I'd be lying if I didn't say I cried. I did. That summer in Arizona was dreadfully hot, one of the hottest on record, and we, all six of us, had to live in a small apartment while we waited to find a house. We sat around in the living room, or sometimes swam in the pool. There was nothing to do. No friends to call. No internet. (That hadn't really come into use yet.) A friend loaned me her baritone, and so I fooled with that brass monster for part of the summer when it wouldn't bug my siblings.
And then there were letters. Letters to and from friends and pen pals written in familiar script. Letters that detailed everyday happenings, thoughts, and life. Letters that made it seem as if you were sitting next to that friend. Letters in which you could see the friend through the lines. Now we have Twitter and Facebook. Somewhere between those two giant entities it is easier to get caught up in people we think we know vs. the people who we really know. A letter or a phone call do not have the same effect. Our world moves faster, and the letters, we don't send too many of them anymore. The quiet walks through graveyards or down the road don't happen because we are busy watching the television, or reading on the computer.
I'm not saying the internet isn't a great tool. It is. But if we let it, it can rob us of quiet. One thing leads to the next and suddenly we forgot why we even went online and we've wasted an hour at it. Cell phones give us the accessibility to call anyone, anywhere. And yet, our lives aren't quieter, they are busier. We've become so busy connecting that we've become disconnected. Hubby and I were walking at the local university campus one day, and realized that we were the only ones we'd seen in a period of 15 minutes that were looking up and around. Spring had unveiled colors of supreme majesty, and yet people seemed glued to their cell phone screens. Birds had begun to sing, and yet, they couldn't be heard because ipods plugged the ears of the people.
Sometimes it is better to take a vacation from these resources, and make life a little simpler, at least for awhile. We'd find out who our friends really are. They'd send e-mail. They'd write a line. They'd call. We'd read a book and talk about it. We'd meet another soul, rather than a Facebook shadow.
How do you connect with others? How often do you use social media? What do you find it useful for?
World traveler when someone else does the planning, coffee drinker in the morning, tea lover when it's freezing, second-language speaker when the situation calls for it, teacher in the past, writer in free spaces,reader of classic literature, and Mom of two busy boys and a tiny girl. Blessed!