DuWayne Sipper col sig

I love the ability to focus. 

In the past, when I have been working on a project (or writing), I often reflect and remember I am extremely grateful for the ability to focus on one thing for the duration of task. I know some of us enjoy sports or a hobby where we are engrossed for many hours or longer, and we look forward to it because it occupies our focus and we enjoy what we are doing.

Along these lines, I find most of us do not like to get interrupted when we are enjoying our hobby and the focus is disturbed.

I remember times when I would try to get some peace and quiet after the shelter opened, late at night. This time would be spent focusing on catching up, or in just plain prayer and quiet time. Someone in the shelter would still knock on the door and need something during my most peaceful moments.

I blurted out one night, out of frustration, “If you are not bleeding or dying, don’t knock on this door!”

We have lent coming up and my pastor handed me a paper of the things we could fast, and one item jumped out immediately. Television, and in my case, technology. I am finding our technology today can be quite helpful — and very annoying. When it works well, it can really speed up a project, keep reminders and more.

We watched a show recently where a 2-year-old murder was solved very quickly when Google was subpoenaed for records and the deceased’s cell phone was literally a few feet from the murderer’s home when it happened. Who would have ever thought a few years ago this was possible?

On the other hand, things that a few years ago would have been considered very rude are now acceptable, like interrupting conversations and meetings with cell phones. I was told there were 5 billion cell phones in the world (which I cannot verify and don’t want to). This basically means almost every adult in the world has a cell phone and many children.

Cell phones have become embedded in our modern day culture and have changed culture. There is now a new term for cell phone separation anxiety. Nomophobia. All I know is all this technology can make myself and other people jumpy, and it can kill focus as we jump to the latest call, text or email.

I forgot my phone the other day and I told myself “good!” I left it behind all day and it was wonderful (not so much for all the people who called me). How about for lent, we get rid of some of this jumpiness and get away from the technology for a while and remind ourselves we can live without them?

DuWayne Sipper is the executive director of The Path of Citrus County, a faith-based homeless shelter. Contact him at 527-6500 or sipperd@pathofcitrus.org.

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