I read a Buzzfeed post a few years ago about the game ‘Candy Crush’. Big mistake. I was just curious. It sounded like my kind of game. And now I’m to a level that I couldn’t possibly mention (except to say that it rhymes with bifteen shmundred and peighty). I know right? But I just love it. It’s the perfect filler when you’re waiting for the doc, or kiddo is watching some inane children’s programme, or you’re bored, or should be sleeping, or paying attention to what your husband is saying…
I was late to the smartphone game. My little neon pink Nokia served me so well and pretty much refused to break no matter how many times I dropped it. I was kinda proud of not owning a smartphone. Then I had a wee windfall and Caleb encouraged me to bust out and get an iPad mini. Which I did. And I loved it. And subsequently turned into Gamey McGamerton. But at least it stayed at home and was less portable than a handheld device.
iPhones are really expensive in New Zealand; you either have to sign up for a monthly plan that will leave you eating a lettuce leaf and a Tic Tac for each meal, or pay a really big upfront price for the handset. However, upon arriving here we discovered we could sign up for a reasonable plan and get iPhones for $99 each…so we bought 12 of them. Not. But we joke about it often.
Now I can crush candies and stalk my friends at an arms reach. And my phone recharges next to my bed at night, and instead of reaching for a book before I sleep, I listen to music and stare at my little beacon of entertainment. I could try and justify this is any number of ways, but the bald truth of it is that I’m addicted. I find myself halfway through a show or movie and needing to check in to see if the little red flag of wonder has a message for me.
The dichotomy of my phone is that it both feeds and distracts me from anxiety. A moment of revelation in my life was when my counsellor said to me, “You know Deb, it seems like you’ve been living with low level anxiety for your whole life.” Upon reflection, I used to sleep way more than a kid should. I would take naps after school, and no joke, my ultimate dream when I five was that my bed would have wheels and an engine so I could drive it to school(!). That’s not normal. I also used to have trouble getting a full breath and I was diagnosed with juvenile asthma…but the inhalers never helped. I had quite a bit going on under the surface.
Over the years I’ve worked through truckloads of my stuff, but to be honest I have trouble being still. I love to relax and read and chill, I’m not a workaholic, but I literally have trouble sitting still. I’m a Fidgety Bridget. I’ve become more aware of things I do when I read or sit still; I bite the inside of my bottom lip, gnaw on the skin around my fingernails, pick at any zit foolish enough to raise a wee bump, or twirl my hair around my finger. I went to a small group recently, sat in a comfy armchair and was stoked to realise that it swivelled from side to side. Because I like to move. Weirdo.
The thought of going on a silent retreat has always had this magical appeal, although in reality I’d probably chew my hand down to a stump before running naked through the woods howling at the moon. I even briefly (for like one second) considered becoming a nun because of the stillness and simplicity in monastic practices (of course I really wanted to get married, and I’m not Catholic, but still…). Something in my soul is screaming for solitude and serenity. I feel like it’s got things to say to me, but I’ve been blocking it out with my Candy Crush, and Facebook, and fidgeting. It’s easier to distract myself then allow my soul to speak its mind. I may not like what it has to say. But I don’t want to continue feeling the disquieting murmurings of my inner voice attempting to catch my attention.
So I’ve got a plan. From the moment of posting this blog, I’m going off the grid for a week. No Facebook. And the only candies I’ll be crushing are the leftover Easter jelly beans. I’m going to read more. I’m going to sit outside and look at the trees and listen to the birds and the wind. I’m going to be more intentional about being present. I’m going to invite my soul to tell me some of its secrets. I’m going to ask Jesus to make Himself more known to me.
Only a week you say? Yes. For a start. I’ll let you know how it goes next week. I anticipate each little red notification to be like a red flag to a bull. It will drive me crazy. But I need to do it. So sayonara friends. Thanks in advance for your comments – I’ll rip into them like a kid on Christmas morning next Wednesday. I’m already so looking forward to it!! Aaaahhh! Here I go…
Over and out,