In our era 24/7 connectedness, it’s not a superlative to which many aspire. In fact, if anyone called me “detached,” I’d be insulted. I bet you would be, too.
But, is being detached such a bad thing?
We make fun of our grandparents because they still use AOL as their internet service provider, use a phone with a physical keyboard, and (re)share recipes on Facebook like Martha Stewart has a gun to their heads.
Is it possible that we’re too connected?
Could we be too available to too many?
Are the dozens of ways that virtually anyone can access us at anytime causing more relational erosion than construction?
I’m no fuddy duddy. Well…I don’t think I am.
I love technology.
I love being connected with people…a lot of people.
I love social media.
I love the tools at our disposal to see through the small portholes of others’ worlds…and doing the same for those who care to peek into mine.
I wonder if being present to so many, so often is killing our ability to be available to those who matter most.
Because the people we’re with are those we love the most. They’re our best friends. They’re our family. They’re our kids. And our neighbors. They’re the acquaintances who might have become friends, if our attention was a bit less divided.
Emojis are great, but they’re no substitute for the sound of laughter, the tone of someone’s voice, or eye contact from someone who’s hanging on our every word.
I’ve been ruminating on this for awhile, often feeling like I’m losing the battle of being present.
I want to be the kind of friend who listens well.
I want to be the kind of father who soaks up this fleeting time with my kids.
I want to be the husband who can sit in a room with my wife, and just be – no distractions. Just present.
I bet you do, too.
What if we cast “detachment” in a not-so-bad light?
What if we allowed ourselves to be detached so we could more deeply attach?
Meister Eckhard said that detachment “enkindles the heart, awakens the spirit, stimulates our longings, and shows us where God is.”
Heart aflame. Check.
Spirit awakened. Check.
Longings stirred. Check. Check.
God near. That, too.
Sounds pretty good to me. Maybe I could get used to this detachment thing.
I have to confess – it’s not the theologian or philosopher that catalyzed this conversation. What began all of this was God cutting my cable.
Twice. Within 2 weeks.
While technically it was the dude on the Bobcat doing construction next door, I think God was making a not so subtle hint. As usual, I didn’t listen the first time.
(I was probably too busy scrolling through my news feed…)
Now, my ears are perked.
So, the Jessens are forgoing cable and we’re saying sayonara to Netflix. We don’t need more competition for one another’s presence. We have plenty of that already.
Like well meaning diets, I’m sure this won’t last forever. And that’s ok, too. It just feels right for the time being.