I’m of that generation that remembers what it was like before cell phones. And 3G. And vocabularies that held words like “qwerty” and “blogosphere.” And even (dare I say it?) iStuff. My nieces and nephews sometimes find me and my peers entertaining as we hand over our new technology to their much more expert abilities and understandings, only to have them returned to us with ringtones that embarrass us in the middle of grocery stores and screensavers that force us to profess our love for Justin Bieber. Fear not, though, I have acquired enough techno-sophistication to spare myself such embarrassment and false allegiances. But what I haven’t figured out is why, once I start using all that “stuff,” it so readily finds a somewhat indispensible place in my day-to-day life, especially considering how easily I lived without it not too long ago.
In a few days, I will be headed off for my annual 6-day silent retreat. Gasps from the crowd, I know, but I love it. And I crave it every single year—six entire days of inaccessibility, of quiet, of solitude, with all that time, space, and energy to be able to center solely and completely on God and the “stuff” of the spiritual life. Now don’t get me wrong—I’m not anti-technology (obviously—I’m writing for a blog, for heaven’s sake!) but I do recognize its limitations and its inherent vortex characteristic that gets me all wrapped up in minutes, newsfeeds, updates, and tweets. Again, I’m not anti-that. But sometimes it literally gets me all a-twitter and makes it too easy for me to forget what’s truly important—what’s truly Real. So…as I enter into six blissful days of silence, I may not have an iPhone or an iPad with me, but I will have one ‘i’ with me: the great I Am. And that’s more than enough.