At least twice a month my husband and I have a date night. Yes, he calls me and asks me out for dinner or whatever I’d like to go and do. Our date nights are an important part of the success of our marriage so far. I’ve noticed on recent outings a phenomenon that seems to be growing. The restaurants we frequent all have television screens posted around or other screens with promotional messaging for the restaurant. One restaurant even had a television in the ladies room. Really, is all this necessary? Is there no place (within the dating budget) outside my home dining room we can escape for a lovely meal and some good conversation? Once when we were traveling there was a screen with a scrolling commercial on a gas pump!
I’m not convinced our attention deficit problem comes from video games. It comes from our constant barrage of messaging and tele-entertainment. We have phones, tablets, computers, tv’s all screaming at us. We come into the house and we turn on a television. Consider this exercise, eliminate half of your screen exposure for one day or one week (that’s after you finish this post and perhaps choose to follow my blog). The second thing I would challenge you to do is spend at least 10 minutes a day focusing on something positive, watching your children playing, watching a sunset, reading a devotion; or just be still and listen to the silence. Perhaps have a face to face conversation (in the flesh, not FaceTime) with someone.
How will this exercise change you? I say exercise, because for some, this will hurt. You’re going to feel it. After the initial twitching stops and you look around, I would imagine you will see things more clearly than HD can ever deliver. There is a freedom to letting go of trying to keep up with what the world is shoving at you and taking control of what you watch or listen to.
Don’t disconnect from your family or your responsibilities. But let go of uninvited intrusions and see what happens.
So you know I feel strongly about giving Thanksgiving its due honor. I do. Our lives can get so cluttered that we don’t slow down often enough to give thanks. In protecting this 24-hour vigil of gratefulness, typically I don’t listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. Let’s face it, Christmas music the day after Halloween is a plot by retailers to get us shopping early and often (just ask Lucy from the Peanuts).
Well, this year I caved. The second week of November I was flipping radio stations and there was one of my favorites was playing, “What Child is This?” – such a wonderful melodic song describing the gentleness of our Savior. I was drawn in and then I was hooked. So many of the Christmas songs are as praiseful as many of the worship songs we sing in Church.
Sunday in church we had a guest worship leader, Michael O’Brien, an outstanding pianist and man of God. The pre-Thanksgiving Christmas music listening slope steepened when I found out that his Christ-mas CD was available. UUUGGGHHH. Let’s face it, I didn’t have a chance, there was no going back. The CD is great, and full of Christ-centered music that celebrates His arrival. Check out all of Michael’s music at www.michaelo.org (free shipping).
True confessions, my iphone, ipod and ipad are now fully loaded with Christmas music. You will find me in traffic (when alone in my car) singing at the top of my lungs as if I’m right there with the likes of Margaret Cloud while she sings one of my other favorites, “Oh Holy Night” or with Whitney Houston singing “Little Drummer Boy.” Ok, full confession is that when I’m alone cleaning (or cooking) it’s the whole singing and dancing thing.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, be grateful for the joy that music brings and the transformational message of Christmas.
All the best,
P.S. — The Christmas movies stay in the box until the 29th! I think. I’m going to try…
You would hate to think that what I’m about to share is unusual; but in this day it is. The Saint James Art Show is a great place to people watch or at least notice a variety of people types. Unlike walking down the streets of the city or through the mall, I noticed a phenomenon that swept the show. No one was distracted from the art checking their phones…
Show attenders were enjoying a sunny eighty degree October day by taking in the sites of the art show. It was wonderful. No one almost ran into me while checking a text. There were no crazy ring tones binging and singing. There was a buzz of conversation and a periodic squeal of friends uniting among crowded isles.
Art viewers were completely in the moment and engaged; how refreshing. People’s faces were alive and curiously looking at the art mediums.
Sometimes it’s wonderful to just unplug – disconnect. As long as a cell phone, ipad or computer is on or at hand, we are ON – distracted.
Find the opportunity to unplug for a while. At first you may feel like you are walking around naked, but I promise before long the peace that transcends understanding will encompass your soul.
Do you dare unplug? Go ahead put the technology down and walk away and experience something new.