The twenty-fifth day of Lent

Wednesday after 4 Lent

One of the greatest impediments to recovering both silence and simplicity in our lives is the constantly evolving and expanding range of portable devices that many people seem to be either unwilling or unable to live without. The car radio appears to have become obsolete. Drivers are seen holding the steering wheel with one hand and a cell phone with the other as they try to carry on conversations while negotiating heavy traffic. People walk down the street alone carrying on conversations with the invisible people who speak to them through headsets attached to their ears. Joggers, subway riders, and children doing homework block out the noise of the rest of the world with earphones connected to iPods in their pockets. Handheld devices provide constant access to email, websites, news, online shopping, and stock market trading anywhere a wireless signal can be accessed. People text message, play games, and even watch movies wherever they are.

There is no question that all of this technology has many benefits. The fact that we compose this website on a computer with a wireless connection to the internet is testimony to our own endorsement of it. We are particularly glad to have our cell phone with us when an emergency arises or when we are lost or late getting to an appointment. And there are certainly times when we are very glad to be able to exchange the music of our iPod playlist for less pleasing noise around us. At the same time, we are aware that it is very easy to lose control and for our use of these devices to take on a life of its own, consuming our time and distracting us from more important things.

Consider your use of this technology this Lent. Is it truly life-enhancing or has it become a habit that demands more and more time without any genuine benefits? Does it improve communication with others and deeper relationships or is it nothing more than superficial chatter, filling space but not making meaningful connections? Try doing without at least one of these devices today and filling the time saved by extending your time in prayer or spiritual reading, or by performing an act of service to someone in need.

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