Over the years, I’ve found that the curve to technology balance is constantly changing. No sooner did I get my online time sort of figured out with my laptop when there was an explosion of tablets and different online accessibility.
When I first got my iPad, I thought it would be an answer to my digital reading dreams. I thought the app side of things might be icing on my gadget girl cake, but not necessarily important.
What I found, instead, was that reading the Internet was suddenly a LOT easier. Thanks to a few different apps (especially Instapaper), I was able to read without the clutter of sidebars, save things for later and share them with others through my social networks.
I also found that my prayer life morphed and melded into the new technology. (No, really.) Suddenly, praying the Liturgy of the Hours was easy, tangible and do-able. I had no reason to roll my eyes at the admonition from my spiritual director that I pray Night Prayer during Lent: I only had to fire up my iPad and open the app.
It’s not so different from what I found as I connected initially with other Catholics online. Back in the “early days” of blogging, comment boxes served the purpose Facebook and Twitter seem to serve today. We learned that there were some friends who led us closer to Christ, whether they lived down the street or across the world.
That connection continues today, though through different technology. We have Facebook and Twitter (and at least three others) … and more to do than we have time in the day. Where’s the line in the sand? At what point is there too much … too much technology, too much interaction, too much stuff
Since the demise of my iPad (it was a bad, bad moment for me, I’ll admit), I’ve reassessed the way my gadgets own my time. On the one hand, that’s one less glowing screen. On the other, it was my prayer library and online reading center, now gone.
The fact is, technology is a tool. Much of it (but not all, I know) is neither good nor bad. It is, rather, a means.
Will I use Facebook to complain about that really difficult small person in my house who just won’t put his pants on or will I use it to share a quote from a saint that struck me in my morning reading? In practice, the answer is both. In theory, the answer should be … I don’t know.
There’s a blessing in sharing the humor of my day and a fine line between sharing and complaining (at least for me). I’m not trying to convert anyone when I post the quote that struck me from my morning reading; I just want to share: five years ago, I would have emailed it to a few friends.
God is in the mundane and the everyday just as surely as he’s in the glorious and the special. He’s found in the naked toddler AND in the inspirational quote. And when I let him, he’ll bless my use of technology just as surely as he blesses my use of, well, any of the other tools of modern life, including my dishwasher, my washing machine and my van.
But that doesn’t mean anything’s game. It doesn’t mean I have free reign to do whatever I want.
Well, I have free will
, and that’s where discernment and balance come in. If all this technology (that gets me so excited I’ll type in all caps and talk nonstop for hours) doesn’t lead me closer to God, it’s not serving the purpose I need it to serve.