All good things



We lost our Internet connection last week. That meant no house phone. No TV. No computer.

I know. With all that’s going on in the world today, that’s an extremely minor inconvenience. It really is.

But I’ve gotten so used to life in 2021 that I was rattled by a visit to 1973.

That’s the year that I graduated from college. Way back in that century, I owned a Singer sewing machine and a cheap stereo. That was it.

The quality of my life didn’t depend on checking text messages on my cellphone or watching dancing kittens on Facebook. Those weren’t even possibilities. And life sure was simple; and slower.

Early on in the advent of emailing and text messaging, the promise was “everyone would be connected.” Sometimes, maybe, that’s not such a great thing.

When I told my children who are in their 40s about my temporary loss of the Internet, they were very sympathetic. My older friends, less so. Maybe that’s because we remember a time when we weren’t so connected.

In the mid-2000s, I studied to be a spiritual director at Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand. Once a month for two years, I spent a weekend there. I was assigned a small room with a single bed and a crucifix on the wall. I can tell you that my prayer life intensified during those weekends.

Then I would return home and try to pray. As I sat in a comfortable chair, I would spot all the problems in the room. Oh, that shelf needs dusting. I need to share that book with a friend. Does the dog need to go outside?

And on and on and on.

Add all of our electronic gear to the mix, and it’s a wonder we can even pray the “Hail Mary” some days.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love the benefits of technology as much as I love air conditioning and pasteurized milk. But sometimes life can get out of balance with too much technology.

St. James reminds us that all good things come from God; that every perfect gift is from Him. Perhaps that’s our challenge: to lift up our eyes and see what He has sent our way.