Virtual Reality

I can’t hear myself think.

Sometimes, there are just so many exuberant voices in the room that my introverted side feels like I’m in a wicked rainstorm of noise with wind and buckets of relentless, bullet-sized raindrops.  I want to go find my happy, quiet place and escape.

I refuse to eat at Brann’s ever again.  I just can’t do it.  Talk about your sensory overload.  At least five TV’s within view, music playing from at least two sources.  Add in all the talking and I can’t even hear my husband from across the table!
Gosh.  Some days I hear myself say things like this and I sound just like my dad.  Once upon a time I thought he was just being a cranky old guy.  Funny how perspective changes as you get older.  :o)

I crave quiet.
When alone, I drive with no music on.
Ever since I was little and the craziness inside was too much to bear, when I find a moment I sit outside, day or night, and listen to the woods breathe and the animals chatter.

And then I find this other side of me that has been cultivated.  A side I’m not too fond of.  And no less than ten times this week, I have been reminded of a strange, sad generational epidemic.

This need we have for noise.  Be it mental busyness or occupation of our hands at all times, we have conditioned ourselves to be busy in every waking moment.
They aren’t necessarily bad things, these rectangles that play our music, show us all things entertaining, and move our thumbs at light speed.
But, they have become so ever-present that we can hardly set them down.
And I am so guilty.

When I work on my blogs, I’ll be sitting on my couch with my iPad, my iPhone, using my Mac Mini on  my flat-screen.  Four rectangles used to upload and accomplish.  When I lay down late at night to relax, I check the reality show of my friends on social media, and I may build a town hall on my pretend ranch, and then I’ll read a book that has no real pages.

VIRTUALLY, THIS IS REALITY.

It doesn’t have to be a problem until we can’t make it stop.  Once upon a time, our family had what we called, “No Rectangle Sundays.”
We were just together.  Honestly, now, I’m not sure we could do it for an entire day.  Not without having other events to occupy us.
I despise that.

Here’s why.
Recently I had a conversation with someone and this person was telling me that they had very few people in their life that could actually carry on an entire conversation without staring at a screen.  The saddest part was that this person couldn’t keep their parent’s attention long enough to get through a sentence.
How is this not the saddest thing ever?

A few days later I heard of a little four year old boy saying to his momma, “No! Put your phone down and LISTEN TO ME!!”

I can’t tell you the number of times I have been eating dinner with someone and they can’t put the phone down.  Even someone I haven’t seen in a long time.

And don’t even get me started on drivers…

What is this?  What does this say about how much we value our relationships?
It’s scaring me!!

My son can talk.  It’s because his brain is like an encyclopedia.  If you know him, you can concur.  And for his whole life he has followed me around in my momma-busyness and told me volumes of information.  Most times, I try reaaaaaalllly hard to stay tuned in.  Sometimes, he just loses me with sheer intelligence beyond my mental capacity.  Sometimes, I’m trying to follow a recipe…
Sometimes, I just let my mind wander.
Not such a big deal until he’s across the country for most of a year and I MISS those stories until my heart literally hurts!

Dialed in.
Tuned in.
Engaged.

When I was in fifth grade, we went to the big, sixth-graders class to watch a film.  Hey, 40-ish year olds, remember films?  Best days of elementary.  Other than the carnival; carnivals were epic.  But films…the big projector wheeled in on a cart, the lights out while we sat cross-legged on the floor by our best friend of the week and yelled 5…4…3…2…………and then the projector broke and the mean teacher yelled at us and told us it broke because we were being too loud.
Ahhh….the good old days.

Anyway, we had one film that taught us how to speed-read.  Darn that film.  ‘Cause I learned how, and I learned well.  I can plow through hundreds of pages quite comprehensively in no time.  A great skill until I’m trying to read, say, the Bible.  Some things are not meant to be sped through.

I’m concerned that we’re all sort of speed reading through our moments.

Date nights include phone calls.  Car rides include texting.  Conversations involve folks who have completely “left the building.”

I’ve intentionally started remembering to look my people in their eyes.
I want to listen deliberately and well.
I want to be present and not speed-living in my beautiful life moments.
I don’t want to be so busy trying to capture and then virtually share a moment with a world that really doesn’t care, that I miss the very next one.

These are my goals this year.  And this…

TO STOP THE GLORIFICATION OF BUSY.

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2 thoughts on “Virtual Reality

  1. This is FANTASTICALLY stated! I feel the same way! I am trying SO HARD to teach my kids this (all the while, finding myself being totally guilty of being mentally plugged in instead of “present” at times) and I often don’t feel that they “get” it!!! There is nothing more that frustrates me than that cartoon in action! May I share this post on FB?

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