A few years back in a “Breakpoint” broadcast entitled “Taking a Sabbath from Technology” (Mar. 6, 2009), Mark Earley suggests, “Try this experiment: Shut down your computer, turn off your cell phone, unplug your iPod, hide your Blackberry, and click off the television. Then, pick up a book. Read for an hour. When you’re done, pull out a sheet of paper and write a letter. And then, go for a walk outside.” He suggests fasting from technological communications – for a full 24 hour day in order to reconnect with the simpler life.
I saw this idea as such a good one that I shared it with a few friends, though having no intention of actually doing it myself. I saw no need to. I’m not really addicted to the internet – really, I’m not – and my cell phone, well that’s just a good thing to have in case someone needs to reach me. What better way to keep Sabbath than to stay linked to my friends through the ‘net and to keep tabs on the fulfillment of prophecy through cable news?
Then one Friday evening I came home from work to be greeted with some strange happenings on my laptop’s screen. We had picked up some kind of bug that kept tormenting my anti-virus software that made the machine almost impossible to use. A call to my provider’s help line kept getting kicked to a higher level of technician, which was fine except the higher up the line I was kicked, the less I was able to decipher their English.
I gave up for a while, plopped myself in the recliner to watch television news (one must keep up on the fulfillment of prophecy, after all), and for no apparent reason the television screen sizzled and popped, and everything – both sound and screen – gave up the ghost.
It was not to be a pleasant weekend for technology in the Cacchio household. But at least now Mark Earley’s commentary had my attention. No television and no internet. What is a guy to do?
Well, let me tell you. Aside from some hours cleaning up my hardware (without meaningful service from customer “service”) and a trip to Walmart for a cheap, serviceable television set, it was one of the most relaxing weekends that I have had in years. Books got read, conversations got initiated, a garden got planted, and outdoors got enjoyed.
More than that, talking heads and internet information services couldn’t fill my head with the latest prognostications of bad news both current and anticipated. The earth might very well hang in the balance, but at least for a weekend I could reconnect with the things that matter for eternity. In fact, I think I’ll do it again, this time without the prodding from electronic glitches.
Lenny Cacchio is a resident of Lee’s Summit. He blogs at http://morningcompanio nblogspot.com/.