It’s the last day of swim lessons and I am sitting in a pavilion watching from a distance. All the kids are lined up on the cement taking turns jumping in. The first girl wears a green bikini, she stands at the edge and slowly steps in, barely leaving a ripple on the water. The next boy does a running cannonball. And then it is Zenie’s turn, she hesitates, stops and insists on wearing her sandals (they aren’t water shoes but she convinces the teacher that she must put them on before she can jump in), then grabbing hold of the lifeguard’s hand she takes a leap. And I swear I can feel the splash all the way where I’m sitting.
My face is wet but it’s not the pool water, I’m crying, and it is for no good reason except that I’m grateful to be watching my daughter. It hasn’t been a long day, and there is no recent tragedy or illness to prompt this sentimentality. It’s just that I’m here and I’m a mom and I have a beautiful daughter. My heart is full.
I recently started limiting my time on digital media. I’m still full on with my computer (I said limit not eliminate) but I’ve cut back on using internet, facebook, and email on my phone, basically restricting it to the jobs that only a phone can do, mainly calls and texts (okay and the map and a few other random things but still). And so on this particular morning I was looking up at the world.
And I had the thought that perhaps the real danger of our age isn’t coming in court decisions or senate rulings. That maybe it is as St. Ignatius warned us 500 years ago; ingratitude is the deadliest of all sins.
In our modern world we have all become little gods of the worlds we create through our social profiles and then manipulate with our technology. My Yiayia was visiting recently, “Things have changed,” she said, ” You go out and no one looks at you, everyone’s faces are down.” And why not look down? Inside our phones we have control, our friends are there to boost our egos, they can’t hurt us, they can’t get that close.
As we live ever more in our carefully constructed technology bubbles it becomes easier to ignore the purpose for which we exist. That God gave us the whole world as a gift and we are here to experience Him through every part of it. We forget that all of life is sacrament and we stop saying “thank you.”
At that last swim lesson I glimpsed what it is to be fully alive. I Realized again that life is found in experiencing the good and that the good is a person, it is God who loves me. There is nothing better.
I’ll leave you with a song from my friend Kelly Mcrae.
“I am not such a fool,
a fool to miss,
a full cup when it’s raised to my lips.”
I got a bit distracted this week. The thoughts from this posting are prompted from a book I am reading, For The Life of The World. It is dense but probably the best book I’ve ever read on the Christian Life.
But we still have one more week in The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris.