HAPPY NEW YEAR! Okay, so we may be like half a month into 2018 but never-the-less, it’s always nice to start out with a celebration, right? I think we can all agree that ending out the year is a mashup of emotion, contemplation, hectic schedules, cold weather and anticipation all rolled into our daily lives and obligations. Sounds like enough to make anyone anxious or driven to hide at home in a onesie with hidden snacks (or maybe that’s just what I did). I didn’t want to face the fact that 2017 was coming to a close because it didn’t seem like I had been able to truly enjoy it. It was as if the days were moving faster than I could grasp the concept of time and the seasons changed before I could become acclimated with the last. It was a year of great change in many ways and somehow I looked up and the reality that my newborn had become a tenth month-old crawler and my five year old could fluently read hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried, like ugly cried… a lot. Heck, I’m shedding a few tears just typing this. And according to a long-time sister-friend who is in counseling and allowing me to live vicariously through her sessions, this excessive amount of tear production is healthy and even good for me-so I let them pour out like water from a fireman’s hose.
As I have come (more like “am coming,” cause I’m walking this thing out day-to-day) to grips with the pace and change of life, little things happen to guide me along. I joined the launch group from a new book, “In Bloom” by Kayla Aimee. It felt like she was living my life in her words and it was a relief to know I wasn’t neurotic or alone in my struggles. But then one of the worst moments in technological advancements occurred as I was preparing for church this week…my cell phone, which had been acting funky since the latest update shut itself off. They need press releases to tell us to avoid the updates or make an update to fix the update, something! Any who, after it had reset itself, I was trapped with only one option…factory reset. I don’t remember exactly what the screen said because in my mind all I heard was “NNNNOOOOOOOOO!” And because I still had to finish getting myself ready and our girls to brave the cold and head to church I couldn’t dwell on the impending doom. It was at that moment I realized I hadn’t backed my phone up since I was like 32 years old! Granted, that was like three months ago, but still, you understand the gravity of what happens in that amount of time. I couldn’t focus on the pictures and memories that were being erased or the phone numbers for new acquaintances and references that I needed and barely could remember even existed let alone recall during a time of distress such as this. So I did what I am good at-I cried. Then I talked to myself to keep from going over the edge, by literally talking to myself.
Y’all, it must have sounded intense through the door because my sweet husband came in to check on me. I explained to him what had happened and right before I felt the flash of fire caused my complete frustration rise up, I stopped. I spoke out loud and with boldness rebuking the devil for trying to push me into fury or depression over things that can be replaced (like phone numbers and pictures). I bound every spirit and feeling of anger, depression and resentment because really, my phone doesn’t care how I feel about it and the reality is I am not going to get rid of it. I had to let this go or it would have consumed me quickly and completely. I made the decision to leave the girls warm and tucked into their beds and ventured out to church solo, for the first time in a long time.
That drive was like water to my burning soul. It quenched the blaze of angst in me and gave me the basis for this story/lesson. See, I was upset that my pictures were gone but I had the same beautiful muses of those pictures available to me still, live and in living color. And those contacts, yep, people I could still reach out and touch (or connect with through social media). So in that moment, what felt like a defeating and life-altering occurrence in that factory reset was really a reminder to focus on the tangible. I realized how much time I spent looking into my phone to record memories and may have missed the chance to live in them. That’s not to say we can’t both record and enjoy special times but how often in our technologically-driven society do we stop long enough to take it all in? To see our children play, practice a new skill or just be adorable without needing tangible evidence on our devise that it actually happened? Because then, when it fails us (as machines all do at some point), then what? What do we have to hold on to?
I miss the days when I had all of my friends phone numbers memorized and tucked away in the part of my brain that easily recalled them when some newsworthy situation happened or it was time to hang out. While phones and gadgets get smarter, we humans seem become more dependent and need I say…
dumb lazy. I don’t want a life proven only by the full SD card in my phone or a cloud full of digital prints and videos. I want my mind’s eye to be the bank for which my greatest and most precious moments are stored. The more we harken to the pull of trusting our devices to hold what we consider precious, the more we outsource that part of our brain meant to keep those things we treasure safe. We’ve allowed technology to be the external hard drives in our lives and while we may not notice it, we create a vulnerability. While memories can fade, we were made to be active participants in our lives and not just so that we can tell others to swipe left or to post the best filtered optic from the eight or nine attempts to get it just right.
I encourage you, as I am walking through the process myself to be more aware of living in the moments instead of just trying to document them. An instant well lived is better than any full photo gallery or timeline scrolls!