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Every year, I look forward to getting up at dawn and joining hundreds of others on a dew-dampened field. There we watch crews prepare to launch colorful hot air balloons.
This year I sat next to a lady in her eighties, who was comparing the event to her childhood.
“Never saw this type of thing when I was a girl. Riding the train to my grandmother’s…now that was a big deal.”
She got me thinking about how the world has shrunk since I was a child. I can’t remember the last time I went anywhere without seeing someone texting or talking on a cell phone. The world is connected 24/7 and it takes seconds to send an email or text between home and Wherever. It’s an exciting age we live in.
But sometimes I wish, just for an hour or two, that we could travel back to a slower pace, when people talked more and texted less. Wrote real paper letters with postage stamps, and waited eagerly for a reply.Apps were unheard of, and the thought of calling someone moments before taking off on a plane was out of the realm of possibility. People watched tv on tv and kids played in the dirt instead of on iPads.
Technology has shrunk our world. I use it every day for my art. Before art, I worked on my Mac, cranking out book manuscripts for my publishers. I’m not against technology. In fact, I like the idea of posting an image on Facebook that relatives in Germany or friends in Virginia can enjoy. I like knowing that friends are just a click away if I have a problem to discuss or a note of encouragement to send. It’s been a blessing to watch people come together in prayer for a young mom who was comatose for ten days, or for a little boy born with serious health issues. A real community is thriving online, and there’s something for everyone.
This great big world doesn’t feel so big anymore. Yet, we’re still wired for hugs. Handshakes. Up-close-and-personal eye-to-eye conversations.
When’s the last time you unplugged for an entire day? I personally can’t remember, which makes me think it might not be such a bad idea every now and then.