Turning off electronics, tuning into God’s presence


For those of you who remember when the VCR first came out, you probably also remember how some of us recorded every program in sight. Like those who climb mountains because they are there, we collected tapes and tapes of programming because we could.

Did we ever actually watch all of those shows?  I didn’t. I was too busy taping some more.When the Internet first entered my life, I (the original early-to-bed girl) stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, clicking away. There was just so much to see and learn.  Now we have Facebook with its siren call 24/7. It tempts me too.

I lust after very few things, but technology is a biggie. I am driven to try every new thing. Each time I gulp down too many pixels, too much communication, too much everything, at least in the beginning. Each time, I have the electronic equivalent of a hang-over and pull back for a cure of a few days’ worth of silence.

Surely I have gained wisdom over the years and hesitate to squander my quiet time? When the one-month’s free offer to try Netflix came along, did I turn my back on it? Of course not! Here was a new and improved way to bring almost any movie or TV show right into our home. Did I hesitate to consider if I really needed more? Nope.


 I downloaded Netflix this last weekend and now can stream movies on our Wii, our two computers and even on my iPod. There is certainly nothing wrong with resting, especially on the Sabbath. It’s OK to relax by watching a movie or two or three plus a couple of documentaries. After all, there were only 30 days in which to see so very much, assuming that I actually canceled after the trial period. But I, ever one-note, felt driven to make really good use of every minute. It probably wasn’t good use, but I even finished a whole episode of Dexter, that popular gory show about a serial killer who only kills bad guys whom the system can’t get.  I watched more and more and more.  

None of the above is inherently evil unto itself. It is my losing track of time and moderation that leads to an interior feeling of frenzy. By Monday, I was suffering that first little bloat of over-consumption.  

I came to my senses and turned off everything electronic. This is me, remember, I sighed. I know that quiet is essential to maintaining any sense of balance in the world. I know that, but forget it often.  Maybe others can cope with the constant noise of modern life, but I just can’t. Johann Tauler’s words seem written especially for me: “So you must be silent. Then God will be born in you and you shall hear it.”

Today, in the morning stillness, I turned to Scripture: Why this tumult among nations, among peoples this useless murmuring? …  Serve God with awe and trembling, paying homage — Psalm 2.

Now the house is once again quiet. I am quieted. The TV, the Wii, the iPod are off. Sitting very still and praying seems the best use of my morning time. Help me to remember this, God.


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