Thursday, March 15, 2012

God is Green

All right, first post! Everyone clap for Sarah! I’m trying to let the Spirit guide me in my picking topics to write about, which may account for the irony of this meditation. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about human interaction with technology: what it means for our spiritual lives, for our relationships with other people, with creation and with God.

I will confess that my life is steeped in technology. I have not yet purchased a smartphone, but I do check my email and facebook very frequently, I love reading blog posts and I defend my activities to myself by saying I only read intellectual and socially conscious blogs, like and I listen to podcasts whenever I’m walking around Hyde Park; part of the reason I work out at the Ratner Center is because I can watch the Daily Show while on the treadmill. I’m plugged in to all this information and I feel way smarter because of it. I’m expanding my mind, becoming a more informed citizen, and so I justify my addiction.

But, and this is a big but, I realized yesterday that I’ve stopped paying attention to the world around me. I walk two dogs every day, but I’m not really present in the walking, it’s become a chore that’s only made bearable by listening to Krista Tippett or Terry Gross. Yesterday was one of those gorgeous sunny, warm, breezy days that almost hurts it’s so pleasant. I wore shorts, a tank-top and my chacos so that most of my skin could soak up the sunshine and the fresh air that it had craved for so many months—and I could barely feel it. I was too wrapped up in the podcast that I was listening to, thinking about the last episode of “Caprica” that I watched (next post preview!), wondering if I could find a good spring salad recipe online and making a mental list of all the emails I had to write. I was missing the gorgeous day. I barely noticed a classmate sitting on a park bench and only waved; I couldn’t hear the birds chirping, welcoming Spring.

At some point, I realized what was happening. The dogs and I came to the end of our walk and I realized that I could barely remember it. I, who had pined for warm weather for months, was not enjoying or appreciating it. One of the reasons why I love Spring is that it has always been framed in the Christian concept of resurrection. The Earth is waking up from the dead of winter and Christians are called to a similar rebirth and renewal. This first day of spring, a day when I was able to enjoy the season in all its glory should have been as exciting and reviving as Easter morning—and I had ignored it. I turned off my ipod, took the long way back home, grabbed my schoolwork and headed outside to enjoy the rest of the day.

Spring and Easter are about new beginnings, a new way of looking at our lives and the world. Rebirth, renewal, rejuvenation, revelation. Perhaps it is because of my being surrounded by flowers and sunshine that I was able to recognize my fault—that revelation finally came. In the past 24 hours, I’ve been meditating on how technology has erected barriers that come between myself and creation, other people, and the Divine. So I’m amending my Lenten promises. I will not listen to my ipod walking from point A to B. I’m going to plug myself into the natural world when I’m in the natural world. It’s small, but it’s a start.

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