Are we friends or enemies? Sometimes I don't know.
I was in the park on the weekend, enjoying time with my family when my wife asked a question I couldn't answer. I slipped you out of my pocket because I knew you'd know. You always do.
Anyway, it's really convenient having you right there all the time, but there’s a little problem I think we need to address.
You see, when my phone was out, a notification came up from my favourite social media app. A tap of the finger later and I'm distracted. It's not long before I forget the reason I even got you out.
Who knows how long I was absorbed in endless scrolling, before I was snapped back to my physical surroundings by my wife's cry of delight. My sixteen-month-old daughter had just gone down the slide by herself.
And I missed it.
I quickly swiped to your camera to take a photo.
My point is, that while you are very useful, you often steal me away from fully experiencing the best moments of my life.
I think back to my life before you. I didn't need you then.
I remember looking out the window as I’d ride the train to work. I used to read the calendar on the back of the toilet door. I would daydream.
I didn't know what I was missing out on, but I was okay with that.
That's all changed since you came into my life. You go with me everywhere. I look at you forty-six times a day.
I respond to your every buzz.
You tell me the words I want to hear.
We've come so far so quickly and now I don't think I could live without you.
But I want to know. Are you for me or against me?
With every app on you designed to snare my attention and hold it as long as possible, what chance do I have against your charms?
Sometimes I can't handle it. You're too much for me! I find I'm happier when I leave you behind.
Like Frodo’s ring, you possess so much potential but I don't have the ability to use you in a balanced, responsible way.
Sure, you're helpful, but what about all the time you make me waste?
Okay, that was a little unfair. Perhaps it's not all you. How can I say you make me?
Maybe it's me.
Previously, my lack of self-control might mean that I eat the last slice of cake. With you though, it means I miss half my child’s birthday party because I'm distracted watching cat videos when I only got you out to take a photo.
Your abilities only serve to highlight my failings.
I ask myself, if Jesus was on the earth today, would he carry a smartphone?
I'm sure he would. Only, he'd know how to use it well.
By well, I mean, use it to build the relationships that really matter. Instead, too many times, you distract me from the ones I should be focused on.
Using you well would mean remembering what you are. You're a communications device. A smart one maybe, but still not something that should be the source of my security, purpose and happiness.
Also, it would probably be better that I look at people’s faces more than I look at your screen.
Sorry for my ramblings, I'd better leave it there. My wife is giving me a look that says she knows I'm on Facebook, when I should be putting the kids to bed.
Tom likes Indian spices, French cars, British drama and Japanese gardens. He goes running nearly everyday, but early in the morning so that he doesn't miss time with his wife and two young kids. In his spare time, Tom is a special needs and Technology teacher.
You can find Tom’s other articles at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tom-anderson.html.