Right now I am in Burnside, Kentucky with my family visiting my grandparents. A few years ago, I counted up the weeks and months I had spent here as a child and came to the conclusion that it had to be at least two or three years. But, the times have changed. The long lazy summers of boating, water-skiing, tubing, VBS, southern cooking, and family and friends has been reduced to a short week of somewhat frenzied visits, and one or two fun-filled lake days.
Because we are only here for a week this year, I put my computer and phone away. I’ve decided that this age of communication and technology is really incredible, but it’s dangerous! Yes, dangerous. And not because someone might post negative pictures of me or because someone could stalk my every move and murder me.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the benefits of technology far out-weigh the negatives. The internet, social networking, cell phones and digital cameras connect people and information around the world. But, for over-users like me, it’s a distraction from life. My aunt Rosemary calls it “the sin of over-communication.” When I’m using my phone, I am too distracted to fully focus on the people around me! I might be in touch with more people at once through texts and facebook, but I’m never fully present.
Same thing goes for when I try to follow the news. This year, I started waking up early to give myself time to read through the New York Times. At first, I was so excited (and dare I say it, proud) to be up on all the current events around the world. I could spend all afternoon reading and not get anything productive done. I thought what I was doing was VERY productive.
But, I could only read so many articles talking about the rising price of oil, the declining economy, political conflicts, natural disasters, diseases, and political speeches before things started sounding pretty repetitive. What’s the point of knowledge without action? Who cares if I know Mugabe or Kibaki’s most recent activities or the death toll from the Tsunami if I’m not acting on what I’m learning. I’ve decided that while the news is important, it takes a back-seat to my life and my dreams.
I love the idea of always being connected, but it’s too much. I have enjoyed spending time with my immediate and extended family and friends without my cell phone/computer/the news distracting me. When I get home, I am going to keep my cell phone on vibrate for emergencies, but I will only pick up/read and respond to texts when I am alone or it’s important. No more dinners or hanging-out conversations where I apologize while I look down to text someone back. If I don’t text back immediately, I’m not trying to be rude- I just am busy! You’ll have to leave a message and I will call you back when I have time- same thing goes for e-mail.
Anyway, I am SO sore from water-skiing and tubing down on the lake so today I visited the local bookstore. It’s nothing like Barnes & Noble, but there was still a good plethora of books to look at.
I let myself wander over to the self-help section. You know, the area of the bookstore with titles like, “Ten Steps to a New You!” “Hottest Sex Positions” “Why Men Cheat” or “The Secret to Happiness.” I looked specifically for books about young women and men making a difference (with an eye out for anything on Africa). There were plenty of books about losing weight, thinking positively, and how to live a better life, but I certainly did not find what I was looking for.
Where are the books about changing the world? Two of my favorite books ever are Mountains Beyond Mountains, Three Cups of Tea. But those three are all about older folks, and the other ones about teens are fictional (Angel of Mercy). Please recommend any books you can think of!
After looking around the bookstore for one such book, I am thinking I should write my own. Of course I’m not a writer, and I’ve never really taken any advanced writing classes- but I could try. Here’s what it could say on the back:
I am on a quest to save the world.
It’s an impossible quest.
But the journey is unlike anything else.
I am not alone.
There are many who have gone before me.
Many who are with me now.
And many will come after I die.
It’s a hell of a trip.
What are the goals?
There’s only one-
Does the quest sound hard?
It’s easier than you might think.
Haha, does it sound like something you might want to read- or is it just totally corny? I want to share my experiences and the stories of those I’ve met. I don’t care so much how. I just want to bring attention to real people with real need and the importance of LOVE/God. It could be through writing, video, photography, or presentations. All four would be cool too. And I want to encourage other people to follow their dreams. Is there anything else more important?
My sister (age 10) just picked up a book- How to Win Friends and Influence People. She really does not need any help with either of those BUT she just looked at me and said,
“Julia, did you know, people are most interested in themselves? Not other people. I don’t think you know that. You always tell me to do the opposite. Well, according to this, the New York telephone company made a detailed study of telephone conversations to find out which word is the most frequently used. It is the personal pronoun- I, I, I. It was used 3,900 times in five hundred telephone conversations! Think about it, when you look at a picture, who is the first person you look for?”
I looked at her and was like oh, hm… because I was busy writing. Then, I made her repeat the whole thing again. I told her that’s probably true, but that it’s possible, and more fulfilling to think about others first.0