(This article was originally published on my old website on Oct 26, 2010)
Ok, I know odd opening, but seriously it truly is that type of relationship. No, I’m not talking about a human relationship such as husband/wife, parent/child, etc, but I’m talking about a more innocuous relationship. A relationship most of us don’t even realize that we have; it’s an impersonal relationship. In some ways a necessary evil, but is it really? Oh, I’m referring here to our relationship with technology – computers and the internet most specifically.
Now are your ears pricking? I know mine have been for some time now on this topic. I have hesitated to say a word about it because it has been so ingrained into our culture, and in many ways we have been incredibly dependent upon it. But!, here is the real question: is it the time saver, paper saver, faster, more efficient way of doing things? This is the bill of goods that we have been sold as a country, as a world. “You can keep up with anything, in any country, at any time!” Woo-hoo?
Please, before you prepare the vat of tar, or starting pulling all the feathers out of your pillows, hear me out. Not too long ago my best friend and I were discussing all the things our mothers got accomplished in a single day. You have to understand, we grew up three houses apart from each other, and our families were very inter meshed for years – until she moved away. But I digress….my point being, we knew each others mothers very well and we grew up very aware of what they did. Her mom was a stay-at-home mom and my mother worked full-time, yet they both, incredibly managed to get so much accomplished during the day. For instance, clean the house, make the beds, prepare all the meals, which included our lunches for school the next day; sewing, knitting, crochting, furniture reupholstering, dried flower arrangements, helped other families, supported and encouraged one another in whatever struggle they were facing. Yes, yes, I know, theses are all things we do each and every day. But, let me ask you this, do you feel rushed? Overwhelmed? Overloaded? Frustrated? Do you wish for more hours in the day; especially when other projects that are not “normal” rush in to take up time such as filing out and preparing documents for taxes, or an adoption? Do you ever feel like you don’t have time to sit down and just read a book, do a Bible study (imagine I’ve inserted a face that looks like it’s going ‘ooh’ here), or wait, how about this do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to sit down and just enjoy a game or play with your kids? For me, it’s finding time to write; something I truly enjoy doing, but never seem to have the “time” to do.
If those questions don’t get you thinking about your relationship with the computer/internet, then maybe this will – how much time do you spend each day on your computer? Count the time you check your email, the news, Facebook (imagine that “ooh” face here again), playing random games? Seriously, pay attention to it and add it up, because I assure you, the time does add up. Or maybe you need to ask yourself this, how dependent am I upon the internet? I was fooling myself with the answer to this question until this morning. I use to think, “I don’t NEED the internet for anything.” Yeah, okay, I’ll try convincing myself of that again when my computer will not connect to the internet to save the world and I need to check to be sure my husbands check deposited into our account, or it’s pouring down rain and I really don’t want to walk the half block to the library but would rather renew my books online…or any of the other things that I “use” the internet for, and take for granted daily.
That’s what prompted me to finally write about this topic. My computer would not connect to the internet and I “needed” to check the bank account, I “needed” to go to the library’s website to renew books that were due tomorrow (and yes, it was pouring!), and I “wanted” to check my email and facebook. You know, I “had” to know what everyone was doing while I was sleeping. Please note the intensely dripping sarcasm here. Oh, and for the record, when I did get “reconnected” everyone else was sleeping just like me! (“ooh”) But what I noticed was that while I set my computer to run all it’s anti-virus, malware, unapproved cookies programs, I began running – not literally, but I got dressed, made the bed, started a load of laundry, started getting the kids up, making breakfast, and it was only 8am! Wow! I could get a lot done by not checking those “things” that I have determined in my mind to be important to check each morning! So, even after my personal computer help desk got up and became conscious, I made it a point to stay as far away from the computer as possible and see what I could get done – and boy howdy, have I gotten a lot done today. Enough that I felt like I could justify sitting down to write this little rant…while making dinner (yes, multi-tasking…another thing I find to be evil, but that is a rant for another day).
It has also prompted me to revisit what God talks about in the Bible – seedtime and harvest. I have heard a couple of preachers break this apart into seed, time and harvest. The example being that yes, we have seedtime when we plant seeds into our gardens, but we also have time before we reap the harvest. We don’t spend that time between planting and reaping sitting around twiddling our thumbs, but it is time invested in watering, pulling weeds, fertilizing…we are tending to the needs of the garden. Anyone who knows me, knows that I believe that my life is just a small plot in God’s vast garden. The words I speak and the actions I take are seeds being planted and in due time will produce a harvest in my life – if I tend them! Maybe I need to re-evaluate that more when it comes to my time on the computer/internet. I know several friends have made similar comments to me lately about their own lives.
I’ve heard it said, that the time you waste is money you’ve lost. Hum, I wonder…are there other things I could be, should be doing that would save not only time in the long run, but would also save my family money too?
I’m not saying to get rid of your computer/internet, but I am saying, it is a tool. And as any handyman will tell you we all need good tools, but when you have a poorly working tool it can mess up the whole project. Well, I’m thinking our actions with this tool, if not used effectively, can and will mess up the whole project, or in my way of thinking, my garden. I guess I want/need to look at it this way, has the computer/internet become a weed choking out the fruits in my garden, or does it just need some pulling? What adjustments can I make that will allow me to use this tool more efficiently, or is it a tool that has outgrown it’s usefulness? These are just some of the questions I’m considering, and I share them with you for your own design. Plant them, pull them, burn them with the leaves (after all, it is time to put the garden to bed for the winter – or as I believe, it’s a season of rest and restoration), but I hope in some way this has blessed you.