Times of introspection and self-evaluation are crucial. It is all too easy to keep our feet moving, hands busy, and ears filled with noise. I find that I rarely ever stop and take a look at myself. And when I do stop and take a look at myself, I typically see things that I don’t like very much.
While I have not brought myself to a full stop, I have slowed my pace down enough to notice a few trends. One thing is that I have too many things to eat up my time. I have a few blogs, a Google page, flickr account, vimeo account, del.icio.us account, blogline account, and read and waste time at various other web sites. When you take all of these online pursuits and then combine them with the stack of books that I want to read, my new html hobby, our new rabbits, household projects, and general household upkeep, it can be a bit too much.
I read the Bible, but not a whole lot. I pray the Divine Hours, but not exactly 3 times a day. I pray, but usually end up sleeping. I exercise, but not regularly. I get outside for a walk, but not every day.
More and more I feel like life is becoming fragmented. Pulling me in a host of directions. Information is everywhere, but I never quite get my hands on anything completely. I chip away at books, peek at online articles, and quickly scroll throw each day’s headlines. Giving myself completely to one thing means that I feel like I’ve missed out on so many others, but not giving myself to something completely means I feel like I have done nothing.
Discipline is something that I struggle to maintain in the midst of this fragmentation. I don’t know if it’s the ultimate solution, but it seems to me that discipline with time and eventually the habit created by discipline can slice through the maze of obligations and hobbies that we amass.
Deprivation may be another way out. Forced deprivation makes us realize that we don’t need to read tallskinnykiwi every day to survive, or that the blog needs a fresh post every day, or bloglines must be read. When we say no, we begin to reclaim our lives, acknowledge that mere things and commodities have no power over us. Our desires must not reign over us.
Lent is drawing near, and here is my thought. If you’re feeling like me, what if the real need is a strict hour of prayer, contemplation, and reflection? You don’t have to give one thing up. You just need to give up an hour of your time. Of course it would defeat the purpose if you took away from family or work time to do this. It would have to come out of personal time that would otherwise be spent reading, blogging, or browsing the internet. That would force us to give up some things, but it’s not some crazy cold turkey thing. You can still do some of the things you like to do online, but only after the hour.
I need to think this through some more, but I may need to do something like this for Lent.