No Second Chances
Over the recent months there has been much in the news about the meaning of life. The COVID-19 virus is the one important thing that happened and caused us all to put things into perspective. We are all faced with death like overnight.
I couldn’t help but think of the number of car accidents that I have lived through, and the thoughts on how close those came to put me a similar state of death. We only live one life here on earth, and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. There are no second chances!
Sometimes we get so busy with our priorities, obligations, and agendas that it is easy to forget what is most important: Relationships.
This is why it is so important to always take care of unfinished business, and to prioritize our relationships? Spending meaningful time with the persons who are important to us and our life, and let them know this. Do the things that show them this.
In the business world we are taught that you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. There is much in life today that recycles but, with the years we have left, God willing, what is the lasting impression that YOUR life makes on this world? If you are a husband or father, your wife or children need your influence more than they may tell you … or even know!
In other words, after you and I die is there evidence that we have lived?
…. or are we just passing through???
God’s Presence In – and Through – Your Life
There was a time in my life when I was allowing myself to be used by technology, especially email. I had several email addresses (at least way more than I have now), and it bothered me when I couldn’t respond to an email within ten minutes. Short of the long, I was having an “affair” with technology and my computer.
Today, I track my computer time, designate “offline times” and make a WBO list (when back online), and shut down my computer at night so that I don’t go back to it. I don’t use a Smartphone, rather a flip phone when out and tablet with WIFI when inside, and I contact my friends the old-fashioned way = I call or visit them to make our relationship benefit from personal touch.
“A Catholic man practices presence with his wife and children”.Bishop Joseph Perry
This is one of Bishop Perry’s “Virtues of a Catholic Man”. “Presence“ is what technology in our present age cannot replace. With Smartphones the average person today consumes 350 percent more information than someone living just 25 years ago.
This information overload leads to shortened attention spans, memory loss, mental fatigue, and – in some users- a form of addiction. It is said that the average person’s attention span is that of a gold fish: nine seconds. Remember when Facebook was known as the “third largest country”? And Twitter was known as the “water cooler”.
The Pontifical Council for Social Communications addresses the fragile relationship between nature and modernity by reminding us: “Depending on how they use media, people can grow in sympathy and compassion or become isolated in a narcissistic, self-referential world of stimuli with near-narcotic effects”. In a recent poll, one in seven people said they see less of their spouses because of time spent online.
What about you?
One way to determine if technology is in control of your life is to include technology use in your examination of conscience. At the end of each day, and before you (go to) receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation; take a moment to ask yourself:
Have I been using technology to deepen my relationships with God and others, or to avoid them?
Has my time online caused me to neglect anything or anyone that I should be paying attention to?
Remember that God is not flashy, and doesn’t have to “Like” you when you post a prayer request, he is always there. God desires to be present in your life, and to communicate with you, and with others through you. Connection to Him is the one constant that will never depend on a signal, service provider, or even a monthly payment.
Another form of technology that can keep you from balancing your life is the television (or Netflix), and that infamous clicker. Sports engagement, or even that gamming, can become a huge distraction when not kept in check. If your wife or family talks to you while you’re engaged with this stuff and you become hostel or angry for being disturbed, consider that you have an addiction.
Anything that is not in moderation is not of God: food, shopping, children, sports, hobbies, etc.
Here are some suggestions for making what is important in life, priorities. I suspect you might have some more to add to this list:
- If your wife is disciplining the kids and you don’t stop what you’re doing to back her up, then consider your priorities are off the track.
- When family is gathered around the dinner table, texting goes into the drawer. Literally! Talking with each other is the game plan.
- Family prayer….especially nightly with small children…. also spirituality conversations with the older children.
- Mealtime prayers with children of all ages from small to older …. children learn more from our actions than from our words … even when out to eat.
- Making prayer and especially conversation about our Lord and Catholic Tradition part of Family ritual.
- Telling family stories with a “message” of hope especially where God’s hand can be emphasized…
- Daily praying A Man’s Prayer, and living The Virtues of a Catholic Man.
- As always: If you’re not filling and penetrating your wife’s heart with your love and affection, someone or something else will.