connection reset

One of the magazines my husband subscribes to at the office came in the mail a few weeks back. He brought it home for me to peruse because it had some content he thought I would find interesting. He knows me so I'm sure it does, but I can't seem to get past the impact of the picture on the front.

Three little birdies, like our three kids. 
One big, oblivious mama-bird preoccupied with her phone and herself (I mean, is she taking a selfie?!).
Three little birdies overlooked and frustrated. 
One simply but well-depicted personification of the disconnect that can happen in relationships when we're too technologically connected.

I love technology. I am impacted by it so positively on a daily basis. Because of it, there are people all over the world that I can talk to as if they were in the room with me and we can genuinely keep up with each other's lives. I can read the profound thoughts, words, and deeds of other people. I can watch stupid-funny videos that elevate my mood and make me laugh. I can learn how to do something new because of the wealth of information the world shares in this collective that is the worldwide web. I can pay bills and transfer money. My faith and doctrine and theology can grow. I can take pictures and send them to my friends and family. I can get thoughts and ideas out of my own pysche, feelings out of my soul, write this blog, and you can read it because of technology. I love that.

You cannot convince me of the inherent evils of technology. But I can love it too much. 

When I regularly plop Pretty Baby down with a snack and a second or third video to watch just so I can "socially network", I love it too much. When Brilliant Beauty is talking to me about the high drama that is seventh grade and I sort of nod and grunt in response while still scrolling my phone in hand and glancing it out of the corner of my eye, I love it too much. When I hear myself sigh heavily and seem snappy because Little Big Man has to tell me something he thinks is important while I'm trying to hear a radio program, I love it too much. When I think in status updates, I love it too much. When I get out of bed in the morning and unplug my phone from the charger to look at it before I've even thought to speak to or kiss or hug Ma Luffin Mayun - or God, I love it too much.

I spend a lot of time loving technology too much. This picture reminds me of that. All of this connection through technology is a tool in my hand, in all of our hands. But any tool can be misused, and instead of building, repairing, and fixing could become something that tears, breaks down, and destroys.

So I'm confessing that I've misused it. To myself, and to you.

I have so much more to give my little birdies, and so much more to receive from them. I don't want to look down and see perturbed tiny faces, distressed because they can't gain full access to their mama whose face is buried in a screen. Or worse, to look down and see three faces that don't even try anymore to connect. I don't want to find them today or tomorrow or five years from now modeling some bad behavior, feeling overly connected to media and technology and disjointed from the people they love and need most. They are growing up in a world vastly different than the one I grew up in and technology and social media is an intricate part of it. It's not my desire to raise them in a cave or buried underground, sheltered away from it all. I want them to use it and use it well, to understand and wield its goodness and stand up against the corners of it that have been seized by evil. But I want them to see in me, to learn from my example, how to pick it up and put it back down always in favor of the satisfaction and wholeness that comes only from real relationships, real depth, and real living in three dimensions.

I want to choose to spend the majority of my days in the floor putting together puzzles or playing dolls or cutting paper and finger-painting with a quickly-growing 4-year-old. I want to hear every word and story coming out of the mouth of an ever-maturing 12-year-old who is so willing to talk to me about anything and everything while she still is. I want my one little fella to know at 6-years-old that what he thinks and says matters to me more than anything I could be reading or listening to. These little birdies will never come around again. I have them today, right now. Emails and statuses and viral videos will cycle. They always do. I get these kids once.

I'm so very thankful for technology. And I'm more thankful for learning how to refashion it into a useful tool in hand; to turn it off, walk away from it, and choose to really live and really love. The world is at our fingertips, but all I can think is the verse, "How does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process?" The last two or three days have been full of nearly abandoned phones and televisions - and even my blog - in favor of each other. All I want is more of that.

I love these birdies too much to continue to love technology too much.

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