Saturday, February 23, 2013

Using Our Leisure Time Wisely

In the Seoul diocesan bulletin, a person working in the field of communications writes about buying  a smartphone about a year ago. He had a feeling of satisfaction in having become one of the smart ones and used the phone in a variety of ways. He could send messages without cost, listen to music, and keep up with the news. This small instrument no bigger than his hand was giving him a lot of pleasure.

Waiting for a bus or an elevator, he would be bent over the smartphone toying with the keyboard. Seemingly, he was using his spare time wisely, but the reality was very different. The number of books he was accustomed to reading decreased by one fourth.  He was always busy and concerned about such matters as how much battery time did he have left. Even when he was with his family, he would be busy at the small monitor of the smartphone. The day would start with the smartphone and end with the smartphone.

According to the ads on TV, having a smartphone was being chic and happy; according to the writer, it was just the opposite. What was unnecessary to do he found himself doing diligently and smartly. What was happening to him? he began to wonder. He came to feel that he wasn't using his smartphone; his phone was using him. At the beginning of the New Year, he resolved not to use it during weekends and after work hours.

This was done not to distance himself from the digital world but to bring more balance into his life. When the smartphone was turned off no catastrophic change came into his life. He was able to spend time reading, meditating and praying, and was able to spend precious time with his family, and to appreciate the beauties of creation. The time between the busy and slow times in his life were now opportunities he used to make them creative, restoring the balance in his life that he had lost.

Time is God's precious gift. We are like a container, prepared to receive many precious seeds but we can also fill the container with bad seeds. We should be  vigilant in discerning what we are filling our container with. Avoiding the so-called "smart" commodities that we are being induced to buy, may in fact be the smartest thing we can do in our aggressively commercialized  society. 

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