Last week marked the start of Lent. Now, I’m not Catholic but my husband is (I’m Protestant, not that it matters…) and he tries to give up something for Lent each year. One year it was soda, another year it was candy.
This year? Scott asked me to join him for Lent. The ‘ask?’
Be present when we’re together.
No iPhone attached to our palms at all times, no texting or instagramming or facebooking our nights away. If someone wants to reach us – novel idea: give either of us a call. Just don’t text us because neither one will answer. At least not instantly.
That was all he asked of me. It might sound like a simple, almost silly thing to some, but to me? It was monumental. It spoke volumes about how Scott has been feeling but hasn’t been fully sharing with me.
…he wanted my presence.
Presence is something I’ve battled, and have openly admitted that here plenty of times. And yes, I’ve tried, tried, tried, to be more present especially at night and on weekends. I’ve gotten a bit better. But old habits die hard. It’s become scarily natural for me to constantly be checking my phone, scanning through various social networks — totally mindlessly too. It’s not like I’m looking for anything in particular, it’s just become such habit.
…but that habit is stealing the joy out of my time with my loved ones, this much I’m already realizing in the short time since this #Presence2013 project began.
A couple of things I’ve noticed so far…
In the car while driving around doing errands today, I noticed how patient of a driver Scott is. We were pulling out of the parking lot at the Container Store (a ridiculously addictive store, red alert) and normally, I’d be sifting through my phone while Scott’s driving (again, a mindless habit), not paying any attention to him at all. But, today I did pay attention and I noticed something new about my husband. I’ve always known him to be patient but as a driver? I never, ever noticed. He takes his time at the stop signs, letting others pass by versus peeling out in a mad rush to get to our next destination (hmm…who does *that* sound like…), and never seems to get ruffled as a driver. A simple thing, sure. But I never would’ve picked up on it had my nose been in my phone the whole time. We’ve also had some of the best conversations in the car the past few days quite simply because we were both in the moment instead of plugged in, texting, emailing and facebooking away.
While playing rummy the other night (a game I am seriously getting worse at with each hand we play…), I stopped and looked at Scott and really paused and looked at him. Straight into his eyes. I put my cards down and cradled his face in my hands and just looked at him. He let out a big sigh, a small smile and said he hadn’t gotten that much focus out of me in months. It was that moment that brought me to tears.
Have I been that disconnected from him lately? That plugged-in to the rest of the world instead?
I curled up in his lap and apologized, and just sat there comfy in his arms and so content. Nothing else mattered. And then, it happened. The song changed on Pandora to “We Danced” by Brad Paisley. Scott whispered…’listen, it’s our song.’ The song we danced our first dance to almost 9 years ago. Scott whispered ‘what a sense of humor…’ which is true: that song playing? A sign from a certain Someone telling me and Scott that this presence thing? It’s important. A lot more important than perhaps either of us realized when we first announced (on Facebook no less, how ironic…) that we’d be disconnecting from our phones for Lent.
I am sharing all of this here with you for two reasons:
- To remain accountable. I *will* do my best to fully commit to this #Presence2013 project, not just with Scott but when I’m in the presence of friends and family, too. They also deserve my full attention and presence when we’re together.
- I also share it here in an effort to get you all to think about how present you are with your loved ones. I’d take a wild guess that more than a few of you could stand to be a little bit more present in your life. If you dig it, I would love nothing more than for you to adopt the #Presence2013 mantra however you can. Life is too short to live it online, face buried in your phone or on your computer.
…at least I think so.