I spend a lot of time in airports.
Air travel is a little easier when you love your job – as I do – and when I can pass the time in between flights visiting with my fellow travelers. Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had have taken place in an airport … maybe because people there come off a little more honest, a little more vulnerable, with those they likely won’t see again.
But I’m finding those airport conversations a little harder to come by. Maybe from the fatigue of all that travel I’m not the conversationalist I used to be.
Or maybe I’m just no match for the fun people can have toying with their smartphones.
In looking around my boarding gate, my travel companions seem pretty content with whatever entertainment they’re finding on their phones. Wouldn’t they rather talk to me instead of burying their head in e-mails, stock quotes, or YouTube videos?
Maybe I’m not prepared for the answer to that question.
I use a smartphone myself, so I totally get how they can double as a personal assistant, our GPS in a traffic jam, or a price-checker for our next grocery store run.
But I wonder if technology has mostly become a cheap substitute for good old conversation? Not only with our fellow man, but with our Heavenly Father.
Before the smartphone came along, I had enough trouble dealing with interruptions getting between me and my quiet time with God. A work initiative, say, vying for my attention, or that nagging feeling I’d forgotten something at the store. But those interruptions are often a little easier to “power-down” than my smartphone. Plus, I have a hard time picturing our Heroes of the Faith being smartphone junkies. Had smartphones been around in the first century, do you think Paul would have passed the time checking YouTube clips on his missionary journey stops, the “airports” of his day?
Whether or not you own a smartphone, most of us would probably agree there’s nothing wrong with using one judiciously. (It’s like ice cream, right? Enjoy it in moderation.) And I’m definitely not about to point fingers at who’s using one wisely, and who isn’t. But that doesn’t mean we can’t examine what else we’re missing out on while using our smartphones.
With some work, I think we can balance our phone use with our relationship time – time with our friends, family, and Heavenly Father.
In the meantime, if you should spot me in the airport, please come say hi. It’s becoming a lonely place for me.