I remember one time in particular, while conversing with a group of parents about the types of things that families contend with when it comes to maintaining intimacy within the home when it comes to the condition of everyone’s heart that words like laziness, appreciation, entitlement were place on the table. Deep into the conversation, the subject of media in all its forms generated such an emotional response from one mother of four, that her bodily reaction to the subject caught my attention.
She seemed flabbergasted to the point of desperation at the frustration she felt about not being able to make a breakthrough with her family, and what seemed to be an awareness that they all couldn’t seem to break away from the constant flow of information that comes through pixelated in its many forms. I could tell that this issue was something that perplexed her, and saddened her in many ways.
“What can I do to just get my kids to join the family, and put down their iPods?”
All of this is not to say that technology is only area of our lives that distracts and complicates. However, in this day and age, it does provide us with something that most of us can related to as a symptom of a bigger issue: there is a hunger in our culture that has made us all vulnerable to complication and distraction. It is a poverty of the soul.
This poverty does not recognize social or ethnic lines. It is not concerned with age or sex. This hunger is common among those with degrees as well as those who are not educated at all. The size of a person’s bank account is not a conditioning factor in this type of poverty. It knows no geographical boundaries and is not concerned with what side of the tracks you may live on. It affects those with an impeccable reputation as well as those who are the outcasts of society.
It is a poverty that strikes us when we are surrounded by all of our stuff… and find ourselves feeling empty inside.
It is a poverty that strikes us when we are surrounded by little… and find ourselves comparing our lives to others.
We ‘plug in’ to whatever we can find to fill a void that is present due to our lack of contentment. It’d be too simple to say that this is all about Facebook or texting. It’s much deeper than that. This is a matter of contentment in who we are… no more… no less. It is then that we are able to discover that we own things that money can’t by. It is then that we are able to discover that we know things that can only be felt. It is then that we are able to discover that we do not need things that we do not have.
Whether its another piece of information about such and such, or who’s doing what… or that third trip to the Walmart to retail therapy the emptiness away for a bit… each of our lives are in need of an overhaul that simplifies in such a way, that we have space to find true happiness and intimacy.