US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Day 40. Mary Lynn Hendrickson: Turn off the technology

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Each day of Lent (minus Sundays) we'll bring you words of wisdom from spiritual guides.

40. Mary Lynn Hendrickson: Turn off the technology
We can spend time away from our spouse but not our cell phone. The VCR giveth and taketh away: taping Dr. Phil one minute and chewing up treasured family memories the next. Taking a day off from our love/hate relationship with technology can be a valuable spiritual experience. It can help keep our frustrations at bay, our expectations in check, our priorities straight.

Just because I can be in touch with my office at all hours doesn't mean I have to; I can toss the Palm Pilot in a drawer to really watch my kids at soccer practice. Choosing to do the dishes by hand or walk to the store with somebody teaches us to enjoy a more leisurely pace and another person's company. Taking a break not only from our jobs but from our e-mail boxes entirely, on weekends, can be a freeing and refreshing way to honor the Sabbath.

Nor do we have to be monks to profit from a vow of silence. By designating a "quiet night"-no clatter from TV, stereo, phone, or Xbox-we can actually hear ourselves think. We free our minds to pursue our own creativity and dreams, and to hear the quiet musings God is speaking to us.

Hendrickson is editor of At Home with Our Faith, a family newsletter from Claretian Publications.

Find spiritual advice for Lent from other guides in 40 days to a new you.