DAY 82: Monday 8 June
Good morning all
It’s the start of another new week, and maybe you’re planning to do something more adventurous this week than you have over the past 12 weeks. As restrictions are slowly being relaxed, we are potentially able to go back to living more of lifestyle as we used to and whilst I’m sure we will all be extremely careful to continue observing social distancing, washing hands and of course, wearing face coverings where we are in unavoidable closer distance with others (public transport etc.).
One of the habits that will easily become the norm again is excessive dependence on mobile phones. It can be quite annoying to be in a meeting or personal conversation and a mobile phone goes off in the room. Even more annoying if it’s the other person’s phone and then they choose to answer it rather than continue their conversation with you. I am guilty of the opposite – if I do have my phone with me it is extremely unlikely it will ring as all too often, I have forgotten to switch it on! Also, there are occasions when I have forgotten to have it with me anyway – frustrating for anyone trying to reach me (just ask Karen!..)
I have noticed a change in people walking along the streets recently. 10 weeks ago, there were so many people out walking, individuals, young families and older couples. We remarked how friendly people had become, exchanging greetings from the other side of the road whilst carefully maintaining a safe distance.
Very few people seemed to be using their phone whilst walking, they were looking at the quiet sky and enjoying the traffic free roads, listening to the birds singing, and being able to have normal conversations without being drowned out by traffic noise.
Over the past month things have changed – getting back to how it used to be. Busier streets, fewer people out walking, increased traffic noise and people walking along whilst talking or texting on their phone, oblivious to anyone else and sometimes even oblivious to approaching traffic or joggers.
Anyway, as we inevitably go back to using our mobile phones more in the coming days, here’s some wise advice from Jeff Lucas -
5 reasons to put your phone down for a while.
It's a familiar and vaguely depressing sight. We are a culture glued, stuck firmly to our smart phones. Wander through any airport, sit on any train, and you'll see hundreds of people slavishly ignoring everyone else, transfixed instead by the small screen that they clutch in their hands. Whoever thought that our gods would be small handheld devices before which we kneel, figuratively speaking, in humble homage?
Let's do ourselves a favour and dethrone that god, and give our phones a rest, for some very good reasons:
1 - That little screen might be sucking very life out of you.
We tend to think that information is power – we’re invigorated when we're in the know. But that's a lie. In 1988, Gordon MacDonald wrote his book Restoring your Spiritual Passion, and pointed out that we often live as emotionally drained souls because we're overloaded with choices and information. That was a good three years before the dawn of widespread email and Internet use. Now we're drowning, awash with useless knowledge.
2 - The world doesn't need to know that you like porridge.
Before Facebook, you never did call your friend after breakfast and say, “Guess what? I just ate porridge! I've gotta hang up, got 4,377 friends to call. Bye!” The world will keep on turning if we fail to report that we've eaten, gone shopping, or have terrible bowel trouble after eating a bad packet of ham. Honest, it will.
3 - While finding out about people, you're missing out on people.
Here's the news: unless you're extremely selective, those hundreds or thousands of friends on Facebook are not your real friends. They won't be snacking on the sausage rolls at your funeral party. But if you half-listen to the people you with while concentrating on the souls that you’ll never meet, your actual friendships will go offline high speed. Don't miss out on engaging with interesting, colourful, needy, inspiring people in favour of the faceless (apart from the dodgy profile photo) on Facebook.
4- Life was meant to be a conversation not a newsflash.
Twitter is most often about declaration (a la Donald Trump) rather than conversation, but life was never meant to be a series of pithy pronouncements made in 140 characters or less. Don't issue a press release - have a real chat instead.
5 - Your phone won't feel hurt if you ignore it.
I have a friend who is wise, loving and a brilliant listener - until his phone rings, beeps or chirps. He is then compelled to answer it, even though he might be in a critical conversation with someone who is sharing a marriage crisis, a major career change, or a forthcoming amputation. There might be a person on your phone, but your phone is not a person. Take control. Be the boss. Ignore it. Being a machine, it won't get wounded, feel neglected, or withdraw in a sulky silence, not talking to you for three days. Believe me, it'll be ready to talk again whenever you are.
So, in the coming days, let’s not again become obsessed with our mobile devices and social media, but as and when lockdown rules are relaxed further let’s determine to have more real conversations with real people.
Now I do realise that for some individuals they are totally dependent on their phones as it’s their only means to keep in touch with friends and family. For example, we mustn’t forget members of our church family who live on their own and do not receive these emails and depend solely on people phoning them –eg. John & Annette Harrison, Pat Feeney, Jean Slater, Viv Kiely, Caroline Bunn, Josie Preece, Cynthia Gayle, and others).
1 Thessalonians 5:11 - So continue encouraging each other and building each other up, just like you are doing already.
Here’s a Hymnalong for today >>> FOR I'M BUILDING A PEOPLE
NEWS: - No news updates to report today
MAKE YOU SMILE:
Amusing video of dog salsa dancing with his owner in a Los Angeles pet shop (they had been on TV America’s Got Talent show) >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwJUHFuSXac
• Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to forget the people I never liked anyway…the good fortune to run into the ones that I do…and the eyesight to be able to tell the difference.
• Wrinkled was not on my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up !