What?! Turn this off?!!

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

F. Buechner

Yes, I know I wrote a little about this the other day, but I need to say it again for my own good. I am not a very disciplined person.  I start things well and then fade out. Diets. Exercise. Reading programs.

Or I procrastinate and stay up all night and finish right before deadlines. Ask all my college suite mates.

This does not set me up well as a home school mom. A home school mom with a FaceBook account. I am too easily distracted.

I have been telling the boys that when we begin school next week it will be time to turn off our tech time. During the summer we have been lazy about it, but when school begins we will go back to limiting the time and there are already moans of dissatisfaction. Mostly from the oldest who has games that require certain resets at certain times.

I don’t like life being dictated by games.

And yet, I find myself checking in on my own “tech” driven devices all the time. I find my life dictated by those things often. And I find that I lack discipline in shutting them down when I need to. So, I thought about shutting down FaceBook altogether for the school year, disabling the account so it wouldn’t be a temptation.

That is just silly, though. That means that I am so weak-willed I have to toss the thing instead of being disciplined enough to ignore it when I need to, and that is just sad. And it sends a bad example to the boys.  And honestly, I love the connection to friends and finding out about babies and kids and goofy things.  There are moments when it helps me see life and connects me to articles like this  and this which make me think. Of course there are things I see my friends doing which inspire me to do similar activities with my kids, or which at least get me thinking about new ways to approach life with family.

So, no, I’m not going to de-activate my FaceBook. I’m going to grow up a little and turn it off. I’m going to listen to my life a little more and pay attention and follow the same rules I’ve set for the kids. I’m going to read more and type less. Scroll through the gossip faster and find the things that inspire me, or the people who need a word of encouragement or prayer.

Here’s the thing, there is no shortage of information around us. No shortage of distraction. I remember, and I know I’ve mentioned this before, reading Thomas Merton in one of his books on solitude. In a letter someone told him basically that it would be easy to seek God in a setting like Merton’s where there were not distractions, and Merton responded that if we cannot find silence and solitude in the room with the television we will go crazy in the cabin in the woods. When all the outside distractions are taken away we will be overcome by the distractions within.

We have to learn to listen to our lives, to listen to God. Simply to listen. We have to be disciplined. There is no short cut. There is no way around it. We have to grow up a little. We can groan and express our dissatisfaction at moving from the lazy pace of summer to the structure of school, but we still have to do it.

What to do? Turn off the noise and the distraction and focus our attention. Listen and hear.

Look and see.

Pay attention.

Be still and know.

Don’t just let it all happen around us, whether in the classroom or at home or at the workplace. Pay attention. Seek out that which inspires and stirs us and awakens us and draws us closer to God. We have to be intentional.

So…the shift is happening. A little FaceBook. A little X-Box for the kids. A whole lotta reading for me and the kids, and a disciplined paying attention. What will we see this year?

3 thoughts on “What?! Turn this off?!!

  1. luhambo says:

    Great thoughts, Sarah.


  2. Jtk says:

    Turning notifications off on my phone really helped me. As well as emails. Not that YOU do that.

    Check out Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary on his definition for “distraction”–that helped me alot!


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