Time to Smithereens

If you watch television near a window you note that life doesn't move all that much outside unless you're near a highway or crowded city street. You keep making subliminal primate adjustments to all that fast action on television and end up with a scrambled mind that takes a while to regather itself. Your accomplishment is that you've quite literally killed time.
- Jim Harrison, The Road Home

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
- Henry David Thoreau, "Economy," Walden, 1854

I've been thinking lately about some of this new reality we're living in; mediums like Facebook and Twitter and such. I'm "on" Facebook and was feeling a little confident when great horneytoads they changed the look and now I'm a little queasy. And twitter? Well, that little bird makes me think of The Partridge Family and all of a sudden I'm seeing Susan Dey as Laurie Partridge on piano in a short skirt and well, cmongethappy.

Now I realize I'm about two d's from a Luddite. I also realize I'm living in this new reality and no, it ain't going away. But there's something I believe we need to be careful of as we twitter in each other's faces. And that's what we're doing with time; namely, blowing it to smithereens.

I mean, what, after all, is "real time"? There's the real time messaging we do throughout the day and the real time scenarios played out on television and the web and then there's the real time you notice sitting by a window, which most of us don't do because it's, well, slow. It's that time in which seasons change and animals burrow and folks write novels and success finally comes and your beard thickens and you realize what for better or worse really means. Yeah, that time.

Here are two examples. First, I remember a time, driving back into Santa Fe with a friend after having visited Christ in the Desert Monastery. I don't think we said much of anything on that drive. We just drove. And friendship thickened like soup on the stove overnight. Real time. In this "other time" we'd of been required to keep telling each other what we were thinking or updating our status or something and chances are, by the time we got back to Santa Fe, we'd been about ready to kill each other. Or at least "unfriend" one another.

And second, there's the way we all too often read the Bible. We don't read entire books or letters at a time; no, we read verses or a couple of chapters or a devotional thought. Not a one of these approaches values "real time." A couple of chapters in Acts under our belt and we believe our lives oughta be an unbroken string of signs and wonders, displays of power. That's a lot more exciting than two week's worth of listening to disgruntled widows not getting their due or the several hundred year gap between testaments when God was fairly quiet. And then there's Jesus not coming until the fullness of time, which to my mind, indicates it took time for time to get full.

And that raises another aspect of all this; namely, that we believe talking or typing or texting is thinking. RU4Real?

I haven't got it all figured out yet, but something's going on with this "time" thing. Give me a little, well, time and maybe I'll have more clarity on it. Maybe I'm just getting old and don't really care for busy cities and enjoy just sitting by windows, not talking or typing or texting, just thinking...


  1. "Be still and know I am..."

    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. John,

    There is a growing problem in this arena. I have stories about interviews that sound more like text conversations than real interviews. I'll keep it short to maintain the integrity of your words--good work; keep it comin'.

  3. This has been something tugging at my heart all too much lately. I know just what you are saying.


  4. I tend to think of myself as the least of the commenters here...so many have such great additions or thoughts on what you have to say...please know that even though my words may not be quite as eloquent as some that I am no less moved and provoked by the things you write...especially on this day. :)

  5. Please keep thinking and posting on this theme...

  6. As you know, I like this alot. So much of what we do on cyber stuff seems a bit narcisstic to me. I'm actually thinking of getting out of most of it. I'm thinking I lack the courage to actually unplug. You give me courage here. SS.

  7. Well, I still have not tasted the forbidden fruit of facebook--because I know I would like it. Too much. Just like I like blogging and emailing.

    Thanks for the humbling look in a mirror from which I'd like to hide.

  8. In the words of my husband..."we've surrounded ourselves with so much of the 'man made' that we can barely appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us...we strangle our own quiet moments." He is still a CO Mountain Man at heart.

    Completely agree with your second point as well...so much is misinterpreted & missed all together.

  9. Steph, thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I'll visit your blog and check out the adventures...

  10. Tiffani, there are no less-than comments 'round here. If the Shame should get all high falutin', then I'd have to call it something else and get someone else to write it.

    Thank you!

  11. Potter's Inn,

    Thanks for your words. I'm not sure I'm going to abandon it all; like I said, "it's here to stay." Maybe I can stay in, but remain on the outside. Jesus said something like that, didn't he?

  12. Andrew, glad you're hanging around. And I hope you are well.


  13. Gretchen, Gretchen, Gretchen...hey, we may get to see you next week, huh? I'll try and find some clean socks...

  14. Shanda,

    Those are great words from, I'm sure, a great husband. Thanks for sharing them.

  15. Kari, yes...being or at least trying to be still...it may truly be the narrow way...

  16. Seth,

    Thanks. I'll try and keep 'em comin'. But I'm getting older and sometimes I misplace 'em...

  17. John, Steph has a writer's heart, too. You'll like her.
    You're messing in my business with this post, but go on ahead, that's what brothers are supposed to do. You're right about it.

    When I think about the garden, I see Eve in her sin and suddenly self aware. Twitter is ultimately a declaration of self awareness and to such a fault that we lose God awareness. I know it because I do it. There is balance, and it is achievable, but .... My record with balance is shady.