Last week, on social media, my wife read about a parent’s lament that their digital movie streaming had been down for three days and “I don’t know what to do with my out of control kids. I’m going crazy too!” Really?
Have we lost our connectedness to reality so severely that it leaves us so frantic that we become irrational from boredom when our digital devices go away? What about the great “out there” out there? Have too many of us replaced reality with fantasy?
In the tragic fires currently taking place in Oregon and California, there have been losses in the billions of dollars, deaths, and devastation of towns, homes, schools, trees, livestock, and many pets. I heard a heart-wrenching interview with an Oregon couple who were, at the time, sifting through the remains of everything physical they once possessed. In the ashes were flat-screen televisions and personal computers. They had one another and their Golden Retriever.
They were quite sad, of course, but then the woman being interviewed said, “We’ve lost everything, but what’s important is that we have one another. We’re helping our neighbors, and they are helping us. We’ll be OK.”
They are prepared for the long haul of recovery because they have discovered what is truly important and what matters.
The Value of Us
I question what the endless watching of video streaming and videogames prepares us for, and to that end, what do the hours on social media prepare us for as well?
When I think of the word preparation, I like to view the concept through different lenses. It comes down to what we value after we sift through the ashes of our lives.
Are we prepared to be good people? In our never-ending quest for gadgetry and stuff, have we forsaken those in our society who have nothing?
Are we prepared to love our neighbors? Have we become so insulated in our lives and self-interest that we have failed to shovel the sidewalks of an elderly neighbor, take in a package for someone on vacation or bring soup to a neighbor recovering from surgery?
Are we prepared to take a stance against injustice? Serious question. When we hear an inappropriate comment do we laugh, say something or turn away? When we witness a person bullying another, do we say something or shrug our shoulders? When we see an animal abused, do we at least report it?
Are we prepared to stand behind our beliefs? This is a tricky one, for all too often, I observe those who were once devout, almost be embarrassed to admit their faith in front of their more secular friends.
Finally, are we prepared to see the world? This doesn’t necessarily mean expensive travel, but to step out of insulation and comfort to know the stranger as ourselves? And are we prepared to see our lives as precious and finite?
For myself, this world and everything in it is ripe for discovery. I hope never to lose the joy of meeting a new friend or making a difference in someone’s life. Let’s all be prepared to make this world a better place.