Should we lose our devices for good?

“I can’t believe this. I lost my phone again,” I complained to the Preacher. Accustomed to my ritual phone hunts, he sighed and continued playing Suduko on his tablet. Circling the living room, I ambled down the hall and migrated to the kitchen.

In 2007, barely a decade prior, we had only a landline and Rick’s tiny flip phone. It had a raised keyboard and its display fit one short line of print. That technology met our needs.

Even then, others had more sophisticated devices. While my husband was in hospital, a nurse mentioned that the patient in the next room had mistakenly sent his Blackberry to the laundry. “He’s lost all his contacts,” she said, in the same tone of voice one would use to deliver a frightening diagnosis.

Other than the plant, I’d never heard of a Blackberry. The young man’s girlfriend brought me up to date, and noted that they’d rescued the phone before it hit the washer. (The pair later taught me to text on our humble flip model. I did it only once; it was that painful.)

We’ve upgraded to two smart phones since. I’m pretty attached, I admit. I now text without biting through my lip. While I can’t visit my family two provinces over more than once or twice a year, we can text or visit face-to-face onscreen. When I don’t know how to reach a certain address, Google Maps helps. I do much of my work and shopping online. But like most good things, smart technology carries risks for individuals and society.

We’ve replaced sincere affirmation with “Like” clicks, emoticons and trite phrases. Rather than letting the tickle of curiosity and leaven of unanswered questions foster creativity and ingenuity, we placate our un-stretched brains with instant answers. When facing medical problems, we often visit Dr. Google first. Even before talking to God.

We’ve become accustomed to having (or viewing) our desires almost the instant we feel them. We have no patience for quiet reflection – the average adult attention span has fallen below that of a goldfish.

Once we cherished opportunities to connect with family and friends without a screen between us, allowing their faces and voices to provide what words alone cannot – deeper connection and further clues of inner climates. Too many of those opportunities we have sacrificed on the altar of technology.

In less than a decade, we’ve cheerfully allowed the intelligence of our devices to diminish our own, preferring ephemeral satisfaction and expediency over genuine experience. Yet, there I was. Panicking over my lost phone.

“How???? I used it just a minute ago!” I extended both hands in frustration. “It was RIGHT HE……” I stopped. Stared. There sat my phone – clutched tightly in my hand. Though my brain still recognized it as separate, my flesh had accepted it as a part of itself.

We share a perilous road, friends – replacing the God who holds the world in his hands with a phone we clutch in ours. Oh, Lord, wake us up.


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