Keeping up with the Nanobytes

I’ve been having some difficulty in the last few weeks, trying to drag myself (albeit kicking and screaming), into the technological realities of the 21st Century.

Now, there was a time when I was on the cutting edge of technology. I worked for IBM and was responsible for teaching nervous secretaries how to use the “new” personal computers in their workplace. I calmed their fears, showed them how easy it all was, and watched as their confidence grew. It was a heady time as newer and newer technological advances appeared in my workplace, and I loved it all.

Over the years, I kept up, even though I no longer worked in a technology based environment. I bought my first personal computer (with a heart-stopping 64K of memory), in 1980. It was love at first sight. From there, I steadily advanced, finding faster and better computers, learning exciting programs, trying new systems, and again, showing my luddite friends how easy it all was.

Then, somewhere in the early years of this century, I fell behind. I’m not sure how. It just happened. Perhaps it was because I retired and no longer needed to be “in touch” as much as I once was. I bought a simple cell phone and didn’t move on to the smart phones that everyone has now. I didn’t tweet. I didn’t skype. I didn’t text. Without my realizing it, I was no longer in the technological loop.

So, I’m trying to catch up, but it’s a challenge. However, I will persevere, and if all else fails, take one of those courses offered for technologically-challenged adults – the same courses that I once used to teach.

As I struggle on, I think the same thing happens in our spiritual lives. At first, it’s all glowing and exciting. We throw ourselves in full-heartedly, reading every book we can find that gives us new insights; we go on retreats; we take courses. We continually “upgrade” our spiritual skills. And then one day, we become complacent. And slowly, we fall behind…dragging ourselves along on our well-worn, beaten path, wondering why we no longer feel the thrill and excitement of our life in Christ. In other words, we get stuck in a rut.

I think spiritual formation is a decision that we have to make again and again. Rather than settling for the complacency of our familiar rut and “the way we’ve always done it”, we need to be willing to step out in faith and seek new pathways that lead us to a broader vista and a wider view.


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Some Thoughts on “She’s Back!”

My friend, Vicki Cameron, sent me an interesting take on the previous posting. I thought you’d enjoy her comments and perhaps, will find yourself thinking of a time when you took time for yourself and found God waiting for you.

Here’s what Vicki has to say:

“I read the posting titled “She’s Back!” and was paused by the references to the abundant life, and how we allow all sorts of life things to bog us down, so we are continually doing for others instead of doing for ourselves.

My husband and I go on a cruise about once a year. The thing about cruising is you have to let go of your life. There is no phone, no email, no Wi-Fi, no newspaper, no television. Our entire lives come to a halt to accommodate our travel plans. In general, people don’t seem to begrudge us this holiday. After all, everyone is entitled to a holiday.

Wonderful things happen to us while we are away. We focus on things that are important to us, in real time. We read, go to the enrichment lectures, meet new people from other countries. Our favourite trips are the long Transatlantic voyages, usually from Florida to England. Fourteen days incommunicado.

There is usually a seven of eight day stretch in there when we are at sea. There are no ports.

An interesting thing happens. We go out on the deck and look around. There is nothing but sky and sea, in all directions. Stand there for a while and stare at the water, and you realize just how huge our world is. You can feel the warmth of God shining down on you and lapping around the ship. There is nothing out there except God.

So even though the revolutionary words of “I’m doing this for myself” seem wrong, seem to rub against all we have been taught about helping our fellow man, this ‘doing for myself’ action takes us to a different place. A place of communion with God we would not have had if we had stayed at home.”


She’s Back!

It’s been awhile, I know. That was not my intention when I started this blog, but sometimes, life just gets in the way of my good intentions.

I think that’s true for all of us. We want to do so many personal things, but we get bogged down with life – visits to the dentist, sick children, overdue reports, a plugged drain, the birthday gift we have to buy. Before we know it, weeks have gone by and those things we’d planned to do, things that were important to us, things that we were looking forward to, have slipped past us. We have a moment of regret but philosophically shrug our shoulders and say, “Maybe next week…”

I’m beginning to think that we’ve got it all wrong. We’re giving ourselves the short end of the stick. We’re missing out on the abundant life.

Maybe we should reassess our priorities. Perhaps it’s time to say, “this is important to me and so, I will do it first.” Even as I write that I feel a frisson of fear – these are revolutionary words, especially for those of us who have always put everyone else first.  How could I possibly do this without suffering from the G Disease.

You know the G Disease – the Guilt Syndrome. Why is it that so many of us still suffer pangs of guilt every time we put ourselves before others? Where is it written that it is our duty to place ourselves at the end of the line (not discounting the admonition that “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”)? Who fills us with this guilt?

A lot of people will say that it is our consciences that cause us to feel guilt. Some might believe that guilt comes from our inner self. I say that the only purveyor of guilt is Old Dirtyface (aka Satan), and it is his job to lay it on us at every opportunity.

What a great way to forestall any wonderful things from happening in our lives! Rather than allowing us to go in a direction that might be construed as selfish and might just be exactly what God wants us to do at this moment, Old Dirtyface whispers “guilty” in our ears and we buy into the message.

The life more abundant promised to us is not a life that is proscribed and constrained by guilt. It is a life of joy and self-worth.

It’s a life I ‘m going to seek out.


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Seeing Myself as Others See Me

The website, My Quiet Spaces, went live today. It’s been a year since I was first asked whether I would be willing to be involved in this project, primarily as the Spokesperson for the site which was based on a book I’d written called “Quiet Spaces”. I jumped at the opportunity.

There was a lot of work involved, more than I’d first thought, but I didn’t mind. Unlike  many of my projects, which tend to fall into the category of “it seemed like a good idea at the time”, this one was a joy. It was left to me to develop the monthly themes and then write an introduction for them. As well, I put together the questions that would lead the participants into online discussions, into ways to explore creatively, into a time of prayer, and into an opportunity to talk about the theme with family and friends.

I have to say, the writing just flowed – there was no doubt that the Holy Spirit was at work!

There was one little wrinkle – I would be videotaping the monthly introduction of the theme. It wasn’t the thought of the videotaping that gave me pause – I’d had experience videotaping in the past. It was the thought of how I would look. You see, I knew I’d gained weight since my retirement, and even more since my back issues had slowed down my activities. And then there was the thought that the camera always added ten pounds.

Today, my worst fears were realized! I excitedly opened up the site, and then, clicked on the introduction. There I was…ALL of me! I was shocked, appalled, embarrassed, upset, angry with myself for not going on a diet before taping. “I can’t ask any of my friends to watch this,” I thought. And then I thought of the thousands of strangers who would see me. My heart sank. There was nothing I could do.

All the excitement I’d been feeling seeped way. I didn’t even want to think about the site.

This evening, I took another look. This time, I listened to the message without focusing on the bulges.  As I listened, I could hear that God truly had given me the words to say, and my heart lifted with thanksgiving. I felt joyful and humbled that God would use me in such a way.

And it occurred to me that Old Dirty Face had nearly won – that nasty little voice that told me I had to look perfect was not the voice of My Lord, who tells me that I am loved, every ounce, every pound, every wrinkle and every chin. I nearly lost the joy of this incredible opportunity to share my faith with you.

So, let me invite you to my quiet spaces. I know it will be a blessing to you.