Bread of Life, he not me

01Aug06

Proper 14: Year B, RCL (going to be homitizing on this in a couple weeks)… which got me thinking of something that I thought of last night.

Last night was the end of my month long sabbatical from email, blogging, IM, and (mostly) cellphone. It was good. It was a spiritual discipline. But it wasn’t until 31 days into it – last night – that I felt like I recovered, or uncovered, from the noise that is digital info overload that has surrounded my life. As I lay in bed last night, not sleeping due to too much ice tea (caffienated), I felt as if I found my soul. It was buried beneath responsibilities, dysfunctions, expectations – internal and external, and way too much information. When I found it I had the sense that is was small.

Very very small.

At first I had thought that perhaps it had atrophied. That my soul was limp and weak from lack of use and neglect. Flabby and soft. But upon closer inspection I think that I was mistaken. A soul doesn’t go bad, its shelf-life is longer and more robust that I was giving it credit for. Instead my soul was small because well it just is. It is like an atom – infintesimally small and amazing powerful. I’m not attempting a headfirst jump into the deep end of self-deprecation. Just the opposite in fact. My soul is small – and yours is too.

My life has been filled to overflowing with stuff – physical, relational, technological, familial, ecclesial, etc…. Much much too much. I have felt disconnected from myself. That I am buried beneath a pile of junk. After 31 days of intentionally abstaining from some of that junk – the digital varieties – I got a glimpse of my soul. Its down there, at the center of who I am. It is solid, secure in God’s hands. I’ve missed it. I’ve missed me. It is good to reconnect and hard to stay connected. Centered. Present. Peaceful.

I’m reminded about Nouwen’s thoughts on continual prayer. This centeredness and peacefulness at the core of my being is, I think, the heart of prayer. So my voiced prayer as I enter back into the digital fray, the budding school year, and all the new and continuing responsibilities that come with being a dad, husband, pastor, friend, son, brother, teacher, IT guy, etc…. is “Lord, have mercy.” I want to live a centered, prayful life. I want remember where I last put my soul, its so small and I lose it too easily. Lord, have mercy on a distracted, overwhelmed technophile. Lord, have mercy on me a people-pleaser. Lord, have mercy on me a addict of my own disinterest. Lord, have mercy.

On a practical level, I really really enjoyed being free from the bonds of email. I am more and more convinced of just how seperating email is for relationships and community. Its great for staying in touch with folks from a far, but less than good for maintaining relationships at home and locally. There has got to be a better way. I’m going to attempt to not email as much. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do this. I’ll start by returning some emails with phone calls and possibly not returning some at all. I suspect this will get me in trouble with somebody, but that’s just going to have to be what it is. I cannot, and I’m finding that I should not, try to remain as pseudo-connected as I have attempted to be. I’m coming to see email as a false-connection to people. Maybe I’ll say more about this at some point. Maybe not. For now though, here I am. I’m blogging and I am emailing and you’ll see my on IM and you can call me on my cellphone. I just want to remember where I last put my soul. It certainly wasn’t in my Inbox.

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