Speed of access is like that mirage of an oasis in the desert: it promises so much but delivers so little.
Consider how impatient you and I have become in the last several years while in the car, while on our computer, and with other people. We are just impatient. Downright rude. We are gaining the world of digital media while losing the soul of space and peace and a deep breath.
Consider this AT&T commercial right now which proclaims that the speed of keeping up with others was "so 42 seconds ago" or even "17 seconds ago," as if those increments of time actually meant anything to real accomplishment (video embedded below). The company proudly proclaims the speed of their 4G network with obvious parody, but they wouldn't sell the product to us in that way if it weren't appealing.
What would we give up if we gave up our smart phones? What would we gain instead?
The collision of speed and painful slowness derailed my own sense of time last week. As a part of my pastoral privilege, I had the opportunity to visit a lady dear to me that's a part of my church. The unendurable tragedy of her body is that it has slowly succombed to ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's disease). She remains in a body bound by slowness, patience. Oh, patience. I do not wish to go into further detail out of privilege to her own life and story. Suffice to say she can't move on her own.
What was so 17 seconds ago was her simply trying to turn a wheelchair or some other routine task that now takes minutes and hours. But she blessed me, because I had to wait on her. I was forced to. The life she and her husband lead was only a glimpse of slowness for me. And, oh, the unspeakable riches of the slowness of that time!
In the slowness, in the forced slowness for all of us, that's where God dwelled.
The speed of access that promises so much to us only robs us of our ability to listen: to others, to ourselves, to God. 42 seconds ago was important only if it was leading me somewhere slower, perhaps.
You see, I could point you to several studies that show our increase in technological capacity only makes us busier. Or I could tell you to put yourself in the experience where you must slow down. Find that place today. Your soul depends on it.