Friending Folks in Real Life

I have been visiting with my brother and sharing stories of all kinds.  We have laughed and laughed until we cried.  But one story he told me made me want to laugh, cry, and shake my head all at the same time.

Bubba is in a caring profession, caring for the spirits and needs of others.  He was recently at a gathering of folks in his area in the same field.  They were gathering to brainstorm and problem solve.  He said what amazed his non-smart phone carrying self was not that there were bowed heads, which would have been appropriate in this setting, but that they were bowed over their smart phones of various shapes and sizes.  He said conversations were at a minimum, and he was blown away by the focus that so many showed over their miniature screens.

Bubba sat over his lunch quietly as most of the group were otherwise occupied, when the fella next to him punched his arm and said, “Hey, I just friended you on Facebook!”

*crickets*

Y’all.  For the love.

I mean, my brother was sitting.  Right.  There.

What on earth?

We do this though, don’t we, so many of us?  We sit with our heads bowed over these phones and long-distance/non-tangible relationships and when the opportunity presents itself, RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, to spend time and get to know the folks right beside us, we totally miss out.  I have seen folks sharing pictures from their holiday festivities this year and many of them show people staring at their “little friends” instead of the ones they love who are gathered around them.

I’ve been guilty of this a time or two myself.

But I’m trying to do better.

Because I know better.

Phones and electronics should work for us, not vice versa.

Wishing you all a fairly technology free day…..so maybe we can start friending folks in real life.

Love to all.

IMG_6559

As good as this can be, real life is so much better!

 

Mother Nature’s Obituary

What a beautiful day we had today here at the house!

While it started off a bit cold, it warmed up to be glorious and I may or may not have seen two boys (whom I might have been responsible for) running around outside in their bare feet. Sorry, Mess Cat.  (Now I get why Mama and Daddy let my baby brother do that in the winter–they always said he’d come in if his feet got cold.  And you know what? They were right.)

We had a yard full of children again today.  When I started a fire in the pit so Shaker, who was over playing today, could roast marshmallows for his snack, I was once again surrounded by children excited to roast and toast and eat them some marshmallows.

Except for one.

The youngest in the bunch was sitting next to the fire in a chair one of them had pulled up (we ran out of log space), playing on the iPad one of the others had brought with her.

From the moment I spied the thing, I eyed it suspiciously.  I wanted to shake it by the scruff of its neck and say, “Don’t you be messing up my nice day!”   First of all, I was nervous (thank you for showing up, Anxiety Girl) that something would happen to the expensive device while in our yard.  Second, from time to time, different ones were sitting and talking to it and touching it and playing one game or another and not taking in where they were…..what all was around them…..whom they were with.

I forbade mine from playing it.  Yeah, Cooter asked.  He even asked to come inside and get my device so he could “play” with them.

Just no.

Y’all.  Mother Nature is going to die, it’s already happening.  And there will be no one around who can write her obituary because No. One. Will. Notice.

Excuse me.  That was the sound of my heart breaking.

Already we are raising children who would rather watch a movie for the twelfth time than look out the window at scenery they may never have seen before.  We have folks sitting across from each other, never seeing anything other than the screen in front of them.  Young people who would be happy staying inside all day, playing games, listening to music, carrying on “relationships” via messages, texts, and emails–without ever setting a foot outside OR talking to an actual person.

At the same time the young one with the iPad was sitting in front of a fire I built all by my big girl self (okay it took me a while, but I’m getting there) surrounded by trees and birds and squirrels and bugs and all kinds of things to see–and her friends, I caught a glimpse of our Princess who had pulled a chair down to the corner of the yard.  She had in her lap a notepad.  I squinted in the sunlight to see what she was lifting up, and I realized she had a set of binoculars that had come in a kids’ meal.  She was making notes of what she saw in the woods behind us.  She was playing “Girl Scouts” with her friends and she decided today was Nature Day.

Ironic, isn’t it?

I blame us, the parents.  I’m not perfect.  While I am thrilled at what my girl was up to today, it’s not a given.  She and her brother ask to play on electronics quite frequently.  But it seems that the longer the time since they last played, the less frequently they ask.  It’s kind of like an addiction in a sense.  They have to work it out of their system, and then they seem a little better.  I’ve been known to call the devices in our house the “grumpy screens,” because folks sure can get grumpy when the battery gets low/it’s someone else’s turn/it’s not working fast enough/they are losing the game/I say no to purchasing add-ons, and so much more.  Definitely grumpy.

I remember what Daddy told me when I was thinking about signing up for Facebook: “Well as long as you make it work for you and you don’t work for it, you’ll be all right.”

Amen.

I’ve heard his words in my head today, and I think that truth applies to so many things, and today, especially electronics.

I’m afraid we are all doing more work for those devices than they are for us.

Speaking for my own family, of course.

And that is why I’m doing some serious soul-searching.  I don’t want the flowers and trees to fall to their knees and return to the earth which gives them life.  To ponder a life with no frogs hopping across the yard, no squirrels scampering along the back fence, NO BIRDS SINGING–FORTHELOVE.  I can’t even fathom it.

And I don’t want to.

I think it’s time we need to be showing Mother Nature a little more love.  Beg her not to give up, to hang in there.  We need to start paying more attention to her, getting to know her better.  Have a real relationship with her.

If we don’t, I’m afraid she and all of her kin will perish, with no one left who remembers what she was like, because no one took the time to look and see what she has to offer.  All too busy with eyes on screens and ears plugged with sounds that are all man-made.

Tonight I’m thankful for this wake up call.  I give thanks for a beautiful day with friends that reminded me who Mother Nature is, and what all she and Creation have to offer all of us.  I am better for the time I spent tanning my soul today.  My boys got along like a house on fire and weren’t ready to stop playing when it was time to go.  I am so happy that my Princess sees the beauty around her, and I hope to borrow her “glasses” one day and see what she sees.  My Mama once told a young mother watching her son play outside, “You brought him into this world, now let him show it to you.”

Amen.

In the meantime I will put down the phone, the laptop, the distractions, and take at least a few moments each day to sit with the Artist and Mother Nature and soak it all in, like art skillfully created and hung on the wall in a gallery.  Appreciate, compliment, and leave a richer, fuller, better person.

It’s a start.

Love to all.

 

Haiku Week, part 4

I’ve had moments in my life when I so wanted to record the moment for posterity that I came away feeling like maybe I didn’t really get to experience it fully. Don’t get me wrong. I think there are some moments that do need to be recorded in a photo or video, but not all. As Mama would nod and say, “Ecclesiastes”–a time for everything.

The past few days I’ve watched and paid attention to how much time folks spend behind their screens. (And at times, admittedly, myself included.) It worries me where we are headed as a people of community. Looking down or through the viewing screen and missing what is right in front of us.

Makes me sad.

Missing Out

watching the world from
behind the screen in my hands
I have missed it all