Everyone knows I’m a busy person. I’m up most mornings by 5:30 and I don’t usually crash for the night until after 11:00. And in between my day is PACKED. Ben has always teased that if I have five extra minutes I manage to squeeze in 30 minutes’ worth of activity. I rarely slow down. But today, after a busy start, I chose to take some time and slow down.
I meandered through Merrion Square and I sat in St. Stephen’s Green and watched the people and prayed. It’s amazing what you notice when you slow down. I saw that as the sun was going down it was framed perfectly by a pair of trees. I heard the sound of four foreign languages as well as four different forms of English. I discovered that the teenagers here hang out in gaggles and speak very loudly just like they do in the States. I noticed that complete families were out for walks on a Monday even though it was SO COLD and it was getting dark. But the most surprising thing that I noticed was that people’s heads were not bent down and their eyes were not glued to a little screen. Very few people were staring at their phones! At home, I’ve noticed that if a person is alone, they are almost always staring at their screen. And a lot of times, even when they are with someone, they are still staring at their screen. Including myself!
How refreshing it was to see people actually talking to each other! One thing I’ve learned on this trip is how important relationships are to the Irish people. They put relationships above being on time, they put relationships above their own agendas, they even put relationships above their little screens. We have a lot to learn from them. I have a lot to learn from them. I want to be a little more like the Irish and put my phone down to focus on relationships.
God wants this too! In Romans 12:10-13, Paul says to the followers of Jesus in Rome:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
Give preference to one another in honor;
Not lagging behind in diligence,
Fervent in Spirit,
Serving the Lord;
Rejoicing in Hope,
Persevering in tribulation,
Devoted to prayer,
Contributing to the needs of the saints
I’m thinking these verses are in the Bible for a reason. What if I treated my relationships in this manner? Not out of obligation or guilt, but because God has made me to be relational and connect with those around me. What if I sat with my friends on a park bench on a cold Monday afternoon and simply listened instead of being locked onto a screen? I am challenged to give preference to others instead of my phone. Will you join me in this?