Did You Notice?

Which is more important—social media or an actual person standing in front of you?

Most of us would agree—at least most of the time, the physical presence of a person trumps catching up on Facebook or Twitter, answering texts or phone calls. Sure, my best friend understands that if we’re chatting and my husband calls, I’ll probably take the call. And I’ll tell Pete that I’m in the middle of a conversation—is this important or can it wait a bit? On the other hand, if my friend is confiding about something serious and important to her (and me), I might not answer the call. There are no hard and fast rules, but there is courtesy.

I’m seeing a growing number of little cartoons aimed at reminding us to pay attention to the person next to us; I bet you have too. You know the ones I mean—families sitting around the living room with their noses buried in their smart phones, couples texting to one another while on a date together. Smart phones are so compelling, it’s incredibly hard to ignore the little buzz or chirp that signals in incoming message.

While I decided to skip Twitter, I’m on Facebook, I text with my friends and family, and of course I write a couple of blogs. I’m definitely connected (in spite of my relatively, ahem, advanced age). I constantly experience firsthand how hard it is to put down the smartphone. Someone might need my advice! I might be missing something important!

Is it that hard to imagine the world going on without my constant input? What if I’m not available right now to share a recipe with a friend or offer garden advice to a daughter? They’ll live. I suppose that there’s a remote possibility that a crisis will truly need my prayers or intervention. Can I trust God to nudge me to answer that particular call?

I love how our daughter and her husband have handled this issue. They placed a basket near their front door. When friends come over, they’re politely asked to place their phones in the basket. No one argues. In fact, they’ve had some very positive feedback. And given that they have friends over almost every day, they must be doing something right!

We had some visitors this past week from our old church in California. We’ve known these wonderful friends for decades, and were excited to spend some quality time with them. As a result, I have no idea what my Facebook friends are up to. I don’t know what’s in my email inbox. I even got behind on writing posts for this blog. Horrors.

Tell me, did you notice?

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