I have been thinking a lot lately about how much time i spend on my computer. Now, like many people, I have to spend a certain amount of time on it to be able to work and stay in contact with people. But i have noticed more and more that my own mood and character is affected by my time on the computer, but also my ability to work through and deal with issues that i might currently be facing.
As amazing as Google is it cannot ever replace time spent in a wise friends company over a vat of coffee while sharing one’s soul. I have a few people in my life that fulfill this role and they are essential to not only my sanity but also to my all-round health and ability to be a good husband, father and worker.
The reason i have started this conversation is because we have just finished a 5 week series at our ‘More?’ Cafes entitled ‘I want to talk about…’ We spent 5 weeks look at a variety of topics including; sex, death, emotional health, science and God, uni and jobs. Over the course of the series we had on average 40-50 young people each week and they utterly loved talking about these issues. Not only did they contribute to the discussions but they were also a source of wisdom for their peers and indeed the adults that were present. Many of life’s struggles will never be solved by going to ‘Ask Jeeves’, Google or even Facebook. Sometimes we lose ourselves in an online world which is so vast and clearly so awesome that we believe it can give us the wholeness that we all seek. But sadly the answers do not come from Google, and the constant need to have a picture ‘liked’ or a status ‘commented on’ leaves our fragile self esteem in tatters. What is needed, i believe, is regular time with quality people, and people that build us up, encourage us, enable us, enthuse us, allow us to be imperfect, floored and accompanied by struggle.
This last few weeks i have seen a bunch of young people who no doubt spend time online, come alive with answers, with ideas, with thoughts that no doubt have been a huge blessing to those present at the cafes. Life will always have computers, the internet and social media, and i guess we will always need them, but they will never, and i say this with full conviction, they will never give us a sense of friendship, value and love that time spent face-to-face with someone will give. In the same way our bodies need healthy food to flourish and function, so to our souls need food which is beneficial too, this ‘soul food’ i believe comes from time with people we can be ourselves with and who we can share ourselves with, struggles and all.