This last week I had the privilege of joining Charla and Travis in both our middle and high school confirmation classes. We are all thrilled to have 22 or so young people participating in a process that is designed to prompt them to think, ask questions, and make some decisions about their own faith journeys. One hope is that the students will encounter God in new and life changing ways and that they will discover the gift of community.
As I was sitting and chatting with our high school students, I became distracted for a moment. My mind flashed back not only to my own confirmation class so many decades ago, but to what my life was like as a teen. As my mind came back to the group, I shared what I was pondering and I asked them to imagine something.
I said something like, “when I was in my own confirmation class, there were no laptops or home computers, no cell phones or tablets, and no internet. Text messages did not exist nor did any of the ways we now can communicate using social media. Basically, the only way to communicate with people was in person, through a letter, or via the use of a rotary dial phone.” I shared that even dialing a phone in those days took time as there were no voice dial command options.
It quickly became apparent that the students could not conceive what I was talking about and they struggled imagining living without all of the technology we now take for granted. While there is nothing new or novel in what I am saying, what struck me that night was a feeling of, “I miss how everything was so much slower. So much of what is quick now, took much more time then.” Although grateful for technology, I feel sad as I ponder the days of the past.
I wonder, how might things change for the better if we could simply slow the pace of everything down, especially the speed at which information is communicated. Perhaps we would have more time to digest things, explore alternative ways of responding to something instead of quickly reacting, and simply be able to create the space to receive information at a reasonable speed.
While we cannot nor would I want to go backwards in time, I believe all of this serves as a potent reminder that we are wise to create room in our lives in which we intentionally slow things down. How we do this is up to each of us, but I believe slowing down is something that would not only help us to be more resilient and mentally and emotionally healthy, but instill greater space in our lives to interact with God.
I guess the basic question is this. “How can I regularly make my life more like a rotary dial phone in which I patiently dial each number, not knowing whether or not someone will answer? After all, having to call back later is not such a bad thing.”