Deacon Unplugged

So, as has become usual, I pop in, leave for a few days (or more), then pop back. To some extent it’s just being busy, or not having anything pressing to talk about.

But to a small extent these days, it’s also me unplugging a little from the Internet.

You see, I decided to give up something for Lent, which is a practice I haven’t done much these past 25 years or so. Our pastor talked a bit about giving stuff up for Lent around the beginning of the Lenten season, and brought up the point that lots of people have gotten into the trend of “doing something positive” instead for Lent. That is, picking up better habits or volunteering or getting involved in some special cause. It sounds nice on the surface (and it is nice, really), but as he pointed out, there is something to be said for giving something up. Not because of the “sacrifice” aspect necessarily but to discover things in our lives that perhaps are distractions from our spirituality, our families, our growth, etc.

Following a similar example of my wife, who vowed to cut down on her Internet time, I decided to give up Twitter and Facebook for Lent. Originally, I had intended only to cease regular and thorough checking of the social media. I would still check out posts and tweets from people whom I know in real life or regularly communicate with online.

Very quickly, though, I found that I wasn’t checking either site out at all for days at a time. I had taken my “sacrifice” even farther than I intended, and it was actually a nice feeling.

So nice that I thought, “Should I give up something harder to give up?”

But that isn’t the point, I realized. I had found something that was sucking at my time, and distracting me from other things, and tiring me out frankly. Trying to keep up with tweets in particular (I felt like I had to keep up with things, so I wouldn’t miss something interesting in the mass of tweets every day) was sometimes exhausting, and far from satisfying.

I’m not saying that I’m giving up Twitter and Facebook altogether; I think they have value and I plan to go back to them after Lent. But when I do, I plan to pare things down, particularly on Twitter, so that the only people I follow are people whom I know (virtually or in real life) or who truly add regular value to my life with their comments and sharing.

Giving up something for Lent has helped me find myself, find more time, and eliminate distractions. Even if that hasn’t translated into time solely and purely for spiritual reflection, it has renewed my spirit.

And so at almost 42 years of age, I’ve discovered something about Lent and larger purposes of “sacrifice.”


2 Responses to “Deacon Unplugged”

  1. March 22, 2010 at 7:35 am

    brings you back to ‘the good old days’ of being disconnected via electronics and MORE connected via life.
    what did we do in teh days before answering machines [yes before answering machines, let’s not even go into voicemail!], before cellphones, tweets, FB, internet.
    libraries with librarians to help you-serendipitous discoveries; uninterrupted time with friends; getting no-account lost; things being ‘good enough because you can’t retype them AGAIN.

    ‘give up’ something and rediscover yourself.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    March 22, 2010 at 9:39 am

    The Internet has been a great boon to my work, and I couldn’t hardly live without it, but disconnecting a bit from it is so useful.

    I’ve always loved libraries, and continue to, even in this info age.

    As for relationships, my wife has commented often on how human interaction has changed with the Internet, and mostly for the worse. I have to agree. It’s valuable for connection, but it’s been take so far that people are forgetting how to behave properly in person and in public I think.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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