Friends, we are missing it. Ironically, in an effort to catch it all and make it last forever.
In the last two months, I’ve had the good fortune to attend two baseball games in two cities, both featuring post-game fireworks. And at both I encountered a strange phenomenon: the person sitting directly in front of me texted, took selfies, and posted to and scrolled through Facebook throughout the entire game. In the case of the first game, an Orioles game in Baltimore, the seats were gifted to us for our anniversary. They were not cheap. I wondered why anyone would pay $50 for a ticket only to stare at her phone.
It’s so easy to be judgmental, and that is not my intent. It’s not that I’m never on my phone, and I recognize to casual observers in public it may appear sometimes that I am ignoring something important—my children, for example—while I text or check my phone. And that may nor may not be true. On Thursday I happened to look down and see the girl in front of me pleading for her boyfriend not to break up with her over something she liked on Facebook. I watched her after she texted this. Her body language was relaxed. She gave no indication to the friends she was sitting with that anything was wrong. I was perplexed at how many of us appear to be with the people around us when we are actually far away. I make an effort, as part of my ongoing commitment to being here now, to focus on the person in front of me, but I don’t always succeed. I think the ramifications of all of this perceived connectedness is not just blatant rudeness to those we’re with; it also masks deep loneliness.
Daniel has chosen not to play in social media—no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, nothing. He also doesn’t have a (very) smart phone. So he often chides me and our friends when we are together and some of us are looking at our phones, whether it’s to edit and share pictures of something that just happened or whether it’s because we’re giving in to distraction. It’s easy to judge when you’ve never been there, but he’s also not wrong.
No amount of recording or snapping will ever be able to capture the life in these moments, the joy in this life, right now. Tomorrow will have sorrows and troubles and joys of its own, but that’s where they belong, tomorrow. So I will capture what I can-- there is no condemnation here-- I photographed and shared whatever moments I could over our wonderful holiday weekend. But there will never be enough. I will purpose throughout every day to be fully present. I’ll take pictures when I’m able. I will often get it wrong. I will try to be like Mary and “treasure up all these things and ponder them in [my] heart.” (Luke 2:19)
I can’t slow it, but I refuse to let it go by while I’m looking down.