Today is the last day I’ll have comments open on my blog until after Easter. This also marks the final post before I begin an Internet fast that I have committed to for at least the next week. To clarify, I will be fasting from all websites and blogs and will only check my email once a day. Unfortunately, I cannot completely forgo email since it is the standard form of communication for some of my kids’ activities; I’ll also still be using the Internet for some homeschooling work. I haven’t decided exactly how long I will remain unplugged. I don’t want to have a plan. I want to see where the fast leads me.
Why am I doing this? Because I need to drown out some distractions in order to take my relationship with God to the next level. All relationships pass through phases. We begin as strangers. We become acquaintances. Some of the people that come into our lives evolve into close friends. With our spouse, we reach new intimacy.
But what of my relationship with God?
Lately, I’m afraid, he’s felt more like a stranger than a close friend. Frequently in my spiritual journey, he’s been like a casual acquaintance. I’m always polite to him when I run into him at Mass or in a rushed prayer, but I don’t correspond with him with the kind of regularity or familiarity of a good, trustworthy friend. And why not? I’m supposed to reach the level of intimacy with God you see in “old, married couples” who don’t need to fill the air with trivial chatter. They’re comfortable just being together in the silence, knees grazing, hands clasped together.
That is why I need to turn away from the constant buzz of blog comments and the limitless information on the Web. It’s drowning out his voice, a voice that’s subtle and doesn’t try to rise above the clamor, a presence that isn’t revealed but glimpsed with an open and willing heart. Silence exists so that I may speak to God and come to know him. I just want to talk to him, easily like an old friend. Then I want to become so comfortable with him that I can recognize he is with me and that he knows and loves me without either of us having to say a word.
Although I’m turning off the comments for my personal spiritual growth, maybe the stillness will benefit you as well. Colleen, a blogging friend, made an excellent point after this post. She writes, “I feel so free to read people’s blogs that don’t have comments, knowing they don’t expect me to say anything.”
I know what she means. I used to rarely comment on anyone’s blog because it was just easier to have more of a “no comment” policy, but then I started feeling that this wasn’t fair of me to wait for comments on my own blog but to never chime in on others’. So I started to leave a comment here and there, but it was tough to discern whose blog I should comment on since there are so many unique voices out there. Then I’d go on a comment rampage. I’d carve out a pocket of time and start shooting off comments in rapid fire. Those were often days when I’d start to feel on edge, or I’d say, “In just a minute,” to a child whose voice may not have been as cerebral as the faceless stranger I was connecting with online but who needed me – all of me – at that moment. I can give my mind to anyone, but I owe my family and God my heart.
It’s always tricky for me to find that balance. All or nothing seems easier, so for Lent, “nothing” it is – as far as comments go. I won’t be commenting on others’ blogs either. I’m certainly not suggesting open comments are a bad thing or a worthy scapegoat for all my maternal transgressions (obedience and discipline – or lack thereof – are at the heart of my struggles to find balance), and I imagine I’ll be turning comments back on come Easter. (I do so love to hear from you, dear readers! You really do make this blog worth blogging for!). However, I have to agree that there is a certain freedom, as Colleen suggests, to stumbling across a blog that edifies without asking for anything in return.
I’ll be back in a few.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)