I had once taken great pride in being the last of my kind to not own one. I had three babies and lived a pretty simple life, rarely venturing farther than a few miles from my house, so I didn't really need one for safety reasons. My kids were always with Greg or I or someone in my family, so we didn't need to worry about emergencies where they were concerned. Besides, I really liked the fact that there were times when I simply couldn't be reached. I liked driving in the car and listening to music or talking with my kids or praying, rather than having a phone stuck to my ear as I careened through Wexford. I liked the fact that I couldn't hear our land line ring any time I was upstairs, so I missed calls all the time and just got back to people when I could. Why was what someone was calling about more important than what I was doing at that moment anyway?
I liked the quiet.
But then, I succumbed and got myself a cell phone. My reasons were primarily practical; I'd gotten lost a few times, and it sure would have been easier to call someone and get directions than it was to figure it out by myself. Chloe had started preschool and I'd started using babysitters more often, so I needed to be able to be reached if I was out and about. My reasons were all good ones... but as time passed and I got more dependent on my little black Samsung, my quiet began slipping away.
It was so gradual that I didn't notice for a long time. My kids became accustomed to listening to their favorite Bible songs in the car on the lowest audible volume so that I could chatter away up front. Many, many mornings, I would get on the phone out of boredom while I was upstairs making beds and throwing a load of laundry in the dryer, and the next thing I knew an hour had passed. I'd walk downstairs and notice that the kids' 15 minute cartoon break while I got a few things done had turned into over an hour, with at least one or two of them plopped in front of Dora with dazed expressions on their faces. There were times when I had determined that what the kids and I needed was a quiet day at home filled with housework and time together, but the Samsung rang and the next thing I knew we were off to Chick Fil A.
I'm studying the book of Isaiah this year, and recently as part of my homework I had to answer a question about the frenzied activities and sheer loudness we all allow in our lives, from constantly ringing cell phones to neverending emails and three hundred television channels filling our minds with garbage.
It was quite convicting. And the cell phone isn't the only offender in my life... my days are full of time wasters that pull me away from what's truly important. One thing I know for sure is that I need to guard and protect the quiet in my life as the precious gift that it is. The voice of God is not the booming baritone the movies portray it to be as the Red Sea is parted . It's still. It's small. And if I'm not quiet, I can't hear it.
As I said, I spent the day without a cell phone. I couldn't receive phone calls, or return them. I couldn't make plans to meet up with someone when the plows made it through the neighborhood. So I read lots and lots of books to the kids. We always read books, but today we read more books than we've read in a long time. We baked cookies. I made the first fire of the season and sat in front of it and read a book of Christmas devotions that I'd been meaning to crack open for two weeks but just never got around to. Then Chloe snuggled up next to me and asked if she could read me a couple of books. It was so much fun.
I still don't know where that silly phone is, and tomorrow if I can't find it I suppose I'll have to head to Verizon and replace it, but truthfully, I've got no complaints. I lost my phone, but I gained a little bit of insight into something in my life that I really need to work on. I love the way God works. Sometimes He closes a door. Sometimes He opens a window. And sometimes, He just takes your phone away.
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12