I had to run a quick errand this morning and just as I sat down in the car I realized I left my phone on the kitchen counter. I was just about to run back in and get it and then I said to myself, “Nah. The 30 disconnected minutes will do you good.” Boy, did they ever do me good!
The near frequent calls from the two youngest didn’t come because they couldn’t, and they had to ask Daddy for the help they needed with their math problems. The text message notifications, email chimes, and random beeps for…whatever? None. For someone who prides herself -so to speak- on having a robust real life, those thirty minutes were the most in the moment I had felt in weeks. That experience led me to this nugget of wisdom:
Leave your phone at home at least once a week.
Because I am documenting this with my own daughters in mind, I won’t suggest doing it unless you are within reasonable distance of a phone should the need for one arise. However, given the rarity of such cases for those of us living suburban or urban lifestyles, this should be a relatively easy task to accomplish. The benefits are numerous.
- You can hear yourself think interrupted.
- You can enjoy music…uninterrupted.
- You can give sustained, undivided attention to any flesh and blood people in your immediate vicinity…uninterrupted.
- You can read a book.. uninterrupted.
- You can enjoy natural scenery…uninterrupted.
The key to all of this is, for those of us who already take pains to do the things I have listed above, is that you can do them uninterrupted. It makes a huge difference. It made a huge difference for me just to realize that not only was I not being interrupted, but that for next half hour, there was absolutely zero chance of my being interrupted.
Learning silence is no longer something we can just take for granted. Being alone is far less simple than simply walking off by ourselves. If we want to stay connected to ourselves, each other, or to God, we’re going to have to aggressively take hold of opportunities to do that. Many times, it’s going to require more maneuvering than simply turning off our phones.
But that’s as good a place to start as any.