We went to Easter Mass this morning. Actually, our family is not Catholic, but often times we run pretty close and feel pretty content among the liturgy and ceremony. On these holiest of holy days, we enjoy the pomp and circumstance, and often find ourselves walking through the doors of my grandmother's catholic church.
As I sat there this morning, wrangling a squirming baby, watching families file in, searching for enough seats together in a row, I enjoyed seeing the blending of generations. The constant whine of a baby somewhere in the church, the chatter of teenagers, the dainty nose-blow of the petite old lady in front of me.
It is something we don't get enough of. This mixing. This being together, shoulder to shoulder with someone half or twice our age. We have so much to learn from each other.
But the longer I sat there, and the more time I had to people-watch, I was struck by the teens and younger people around me. I watched the boy in front of me, blasting through levels of a snowboarding game on his phone. I watched the girl in the pew just down from our family, aimlessly scrolling her thumb back and forth across screen after screen of iphone apps while she uncomfortably glanced around the church and bobbed her crossed leg.
A boy across from me was sending a last-minute text.
Beside him a lady, greying and old, sat. And did nothing. She flipped through the missal, smiled at people as they found their seats, stared up at the light streaming through the stained-glass windows.
Another man, closer to the front was kneeling, head in his hands. Doing what I imagine was quieting his heart and mind for the coming celebratory service.
And it occured to me, in those moments how nice it must be to be part of that generation. To not be bogged down and distracted by apps, and texts, and emails. To be completely unavailable for whole chunks of time. To have no anxiety over what you're missing while you're "away". No worry that someone may have wanted you and you weren't there to answer the call. To have no other "world" to check in to. To be fully present in the life you are living.
The truth is, our reality is much different than theirs. And for most of us, life requires us to be connected in some way. And for many of us, this connecting is completely enjoyable and good. But just for a moment, don't you ever wish you could turn it all off? And just experience life that much more simply? To know what it's like to be unavailable, and undistracted?
There is something to be learned, I believe. If nothing else, those moments in the pews reminded me to take chunks of time and turn off. To disconnect. And as overused as the saying is, to be more present.
And like the incense of the Easter Mass that clung to our clothes as we left the church, I hope this lesson clings to my heart and mind as I step back into my life this week.