Sunday, March 23, 2014

True Confessions of a Modern Day Internet Junkie

A simple ornament. Handmade. Delicate. I slid it onto the doorknob of my back door and watched it swing back and forth each time my son slipped into the back yard. It was a gift from a dear friend who lives far from me.

She thought of me and sent it.

I think about doing such things but the busyness of each day forces those thoughts inward. They sink like stones deep inside my heart, that heart which, once soft and gentle, gets a little more heavy with each passing day.

Then I got sick.

I spent the first two days of bed rest watching movies and talking over serious issues on Facebook. I felt like one of those characters from the movie Wall-E. The ones who enjoyed the laid back life, resting in their easy chairs, sliding around sipping sodas and shooting the breeze.

Then I remembered all the things I had intended to do for my family at Christmastime. It came flooding in -- the pressures of shopping, the baking, cooking, decorating, caroling, church going -- it swirled in my head. I was dizzy with regret.

I got up and tried to bake the simplest something but ended up back in bed.

I told my daughter. Here's what she said: "I would be happy to bake for you!" The burden was lifted. But something was still wrong. I faced several questions about the depth of my own soul and life.

What is filling my days instead of the things I believe in?

As I had time to take stock, I looked around. I have shelves upon shelves of books. You might call me a bibliophile or a book collector or maybe just a hoarder, I don't know. I read a lot. And I am online a lot. In fact, my son confronted me head on with this ugly fact a few days ago when I told him I missed him because he was always heading upstairs to his room.

"You're always sitting there with your laptop anyway. I might as well be upstairs."

I could almost hear the zing of the remark as he flung it with arrow-like precision at my heart. It stung. Not because he intended to hurt me but because it was so accurate.

It's not that I'm addicted to Facebook and blogging so much as that I miss my friends who live in other states. That's what I told myself all day, anyway. And I'm a writer, so I have to be online for a significant amount of time each day. That one made perfect sense. But my son is almost 17 years old. When did I intend to spend quality time with him? And worse, this Charlotte Mason education I believe so wholeheartedly in was crashing down around me.

Nature Study?
Viewing great art?
Studying composers?

I spent much time reading about all these things and very little time actually doing them. I can tell you exactly HOW to teach using the Charlotte Mason method. I really can.

But I don't often DO it.

I am watching life. Writing about life. Reading living books about life.

But I am not living.

Some say introversion is to blame. We philosophical intellectuals enjoy sipping tea and thinking things through. That takes time. We need time to sit around and contemplate the meaning of the universe.

That is true!

But we are called as Christians to live in community. To serve others less fortunate, not merely by making donations to charity but by touching the lives of other people. Literally touching them -- a hand grasped in prayer, a shaking hand held while a child is in surgery, an encouraging hug. We are the hands and feet of our Lord.

As I recover from this bout of sickness, I make this promise to my family, friends, neighbors, and to God. I choose to live fully, love deeply, walk humbly, and learn and grow along with my fellow sojourners.

That is all.


  1. It is hard to feel like doing when your head spins upon getting out of bed. I went through this with a bad head cold recently. I'm still "catching up" on sleep. It is amazing how invigorating it is just to be outside. Maybe all you need is a chair under a tree with a sketchbook. Yesterday, it took about ten minutes to dry brush a pear tree bud in my yard. Not the whole tree. Just two twigs budding.

  2. We have a plum tree in our front yard, and every year I forget to even check it until the fruit is rotting on the ground. This week, it's blossoming. I'm taking one picture of it each day and trying to sketch it as the transformation happens. May I be transformed and bear fruit along with it!

  3. Wow. This hits home. Thank you for your transparency.

  4. Appreciated your honesty. It's such a deceptive thing & so easy to fall into.