Be Present.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

There was one day I was at church for morning worship service when I was next to someone who was on their phone the entire time. It’s become commonplace - in a way - to see phones at church, but I hadn’t seen someone be on their phone for nearly a whole service. Out of sheer curiosity, when this person put down their phone, I decided to count the seconds before they pulled it out again. 

Fifteen seconds. 

Fifteen seconds was the longest amount of time this member - yes, member, since they took communion with me - didn’t have their phone out.

Needless to say, a pet peeve of mine flared up a bit that day. I realize that I’m preaching to myself a bit; it’s easy to wander to the tiny screen if I see a notification, and it's easy to pass time scrolling through feeds and timelines. But there’s something to be said if you can’t give but fifteen seconds to God, let alone people around you, your dinner conversation partner, a concert, a wedding, or anything that involves you engaging with another person.

Recently, I took a trip with my Mom to Northern California. There, we hardly had cell service, let alone a TV with standard cable. While the latter isn't a huge deal for me - I tend to lurk YouTube instead - sometimes, a lack of cell service leaves me disconnected.

Little did I know that disconnecting was exactly what I needed to do.

Mom and I found an adorable pub near our VRBO cottage, and we decided to swing by for dinner before getting groceries for the next day. When we pulled up to the tudor-style inn, there was a whiteboard sign right out front declaring that the WiFi was out. Mom and I just shrugged, walked in, ordered our tea and dinner, and headed into the dining room.

The dining room was very dimly lit to the point where one of the waiters actually came in and lit candles and the fireplace. If we'd had wifi and cell service, we wouldn't have noticed the fact that the same waiter would sing along to various random pop songs, nor would we have noticed the charm of the place. In fact, that's why I don't have any pictures of the pub to show you; we were too busy enjoying the atmosphere and company.

That pub reminded me of something that day: sometimes, I need to put down my phone in order to really enjoy my life and the amazing things around me. As a writer, I'm inspired by experiences and things around me, so this really rings true ihn my creative work. Also, side note, if I hadn't put down my phone and quit filming at the Bastille concert I went to, I would have totally missed Dan Smith, their lead singer, looking right at me from a couple feet away.

Sometimes, in the midst of our crazy-busy lives, we've got to put our devices down and actually stop and smell the figurative roses. Who knows? We might have a story to tell from it.

This was the view at Muir Beach Lookout, near where we were staying. Isn't it amazing?

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