Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Time to Turn off the Glare

  • Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people. (Ezekiel 12:2)
  • In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving." (Matthew 13:14)
I often write about my morning walks with Scout, setting the stage for each new day with a short meditation from The Upper Room and a long hike with the galumphing labradoodle. But we go on a similar trek every evening, too, and last night I picked up some startling insight that I hope I don't forget.

In contrast to the morning, which is quiet and reflective, I often spend the entire 45-minutes in the late evening multi-tasking on my "smart"-phone. I read pages of news, answer emails, scroll through facebook status updates and update my calendar.

What happened yesterday, however, has given me pause.

It was a beautiful evening, the moon was in and out from behind some thin clouds, and there was enough ambient light to see details out on the golf-course. Until, that is, I turned on my phone. The screen is huge, and the backlighting is so strong I've often used it as a flashlight.

The effect, when staring into such a bright, focused, screen, is profound.
- The aperture of my pupils shrinks to pin-points
- Everything outside of that narrow focus becomes completely dark
- The balance of my sensory interface with the world also closes down...

So there I was, walking the sidewalk and staring into the screen, reading an article from the Wall Street Journal titled "Trump's Candidacy Shows Signs of Life" (that, my friends, is a whole other potential blog post!). I rounded the corner, thought I heard some noise, stopped, then looked around me to see only impenetrable blackness.

I started walking again. This time I thought I heard the panting of a dog, but it didn't sound anything like Scout (who was at the end of the leash but I couldn't see her). I stopped again and looked searchingly with my pin-prick aperture pupils. Seeing nothing I started to move on.

Then a voice started talking in my direction and I stopped once more. I turned in the direction of the sound but could only perceive a wall of black. So - smart move - I stuck the phone in my pocket and closed my eyes tight to jump start the dilation. Gradually, after I opened my eyes again, I began to make out my neighbor, Mike, along with his two dogs, Harris and Snoopy.

They were all standing - I kid you not - just eight-ten feet into their driveway.

I was completely embarrassed, and I wondered how many people I have ignored or even run off the sidewalk while my vision and most of my brain were sucked irretrievably into a small, bright screen?

So I spent the balance of our evening adventure thinking about other ways in which I effectively cut myself off from the greater world, both abroad and even here at home.
  • Hunger
  • Poverty
  • Injustice
  • Human Trafficking
  • Desperation
  • Spiritual Poverty
  • Loneliness
  • Ignorance...
There is more, of course. But here's the twist. I had become temporarily blind on my late-night walk with Scout labradoodle - while I was staring into a device designed to broaden my access to information and to improve my interface with the world.

Sometimes what's needed is to turn off the glare, to open our eyes, and to allow God to speak truth into our consciousness right were we are. Enough with the distractions! How can I be a Follower of The Way if I can't even see the dog on the end of the leash?

Peace - DEREK

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