It only seems fair that I be able to share some cultural observations about our time stateside since I'm always sharing cultural observations about our time in Haiti.
I know I'm out of the loop. If acceptance is the first step to recovery, I accept. I know I'm frumpy and old-fashioned compared to the "modern" American 20-something of today. You'll notice when you see us. We're out of it. We've been "out of it" too long now to act like we're "in it."
I don't know how to text, and it takes me so stinkin' long to get a "how are you?" beeped in there that...well, I just don't get it. It's a phone. Why am I not just calling you? I could have called you by now!
I don't know how to do scarves or skinny jeans, and to be frank, I've lived in a skirt for so many years now that any kind of pants make me feel a bit...scandalous.
I don't facebook. I don't know how to facebook. I don't know what you have on facebook or how you put it there. As a much-more-cool friend told me a few weeks ago, "Stace, the reality is that facebook is the way you do things now. It's how I invite people to do stuff and how I know what's going on! You've gotta use it if you want to stay up on what is happening!" Well... That explains a lot about why I'm out of the loop.
I don't know what's in style this summer. I don't know how you get "apps" or where you put them, I don't know why signs everywhere have barcodes you can take pictures of (or something?) for "more information", nor do I know anything about all these weird food/diet/allergy things on menus and packages.
Let's face it. Maybe I have some friends on Facebook. But I also have some friends who sign their names "X". Maybe gluten-free/low-fat/vegan/organic is really important in the lives of our friends. But we also have friends whom having food is really important to. Today I watched six men (this is NOT an exaggeration) replace one slide because it didn't have rails on the side and moms were complaining. This is my community. But I also have a community who has no concept whatsoever of a playground, and whose five-year olds are shimmying up 20 foot coconut trees with machetes in their teeth (also, NOT an exaggeration!).
One is NO better than the other. They're just different, and I "get" both in many ways. I "do" both in many ways.
But there IS something that is worrying me about "our" American culture.
The iPhone/constant internet access thing?
Yeah, it's disturbing me.
I know, I know. You're probably reading this on your iPhone. And you have a REALLY cute case that makes ME want a really cute case and I don't even have one. And I bet it's really convenient sometimes and that it can be used for good things, and etc. etc. etc.
But today, when I was pushing Sofie on a baby swing, I started to say something to the mom next to me who was pushing her little guy, and realized she was pushing with her left hand and scrolling all over her iPhone with her right.
I stopped mid-sentence, and she looked up at me as if I had interrupted a conversation she was having with three other people. Well, maybe she WAS having a conversation with three other people. That I couldn't hear or see and wasn't a part of.
So, I looked around, and do you know that there were four moms pushing toddlers, and that ALL three of the other moms were on their iPhones? Push, scroll, tap....push, scroll, tap.
We were not talking to each other. And we were NOT talking to our children. We were Facebooking and emailing and texting and watching You-Tube and who knows what else. Maybe they were reading our blog. I don't know.
I get that I don't get it. That's fine. I'm out of it. But seriously! How can this be ok? I have a grand total of like 3 friends in the whole town. (And one is my dad.) And I love Jesus, and I want to share Him. I want to take every chance I have to make friends, and to share Him with these friends.
But MAN, is our culture making this hard! I had better conversations with everyone's 2-year olds!
Irked, I paid close attention today at the store, at dinner, in the car, and everywhere we went, there were loads of people on-line through their iPhones, spending time with people or things that were NOT there...passing over people who WERE there. There was even a guy eating with his family who NEVER looked up from his mesmerizing black box, not hearing a word anyone said.
The reality, I guess, is that I now come from a culture where there is nothing to do BUT talk to each other. It's all anyone does. It's all anyone wants to do.
Complete strangers will stop you just to get to know you. Women will invite you into their yard to talk for as long as you'll stay. Friends will come and sit in your bedroom for hours when you are sick, just so you have people to talk to.
And there's something in that.
Do I love vomiting while friends are literally in my bathroom talking to me? No. Do I love people talking to me through my kitchen window before I've had a chance to have my coffee? No.
But it sure makes you feel loved. Important. Valuable. And being surrounded by women my age today and feeling RUDE for trying to talk to them sure made me feel small. Unimportant. Annoying.
I think it's pretty obvious which sentiments are the best ground-work for sharing Jesus and His love with people, our call and privilege and command. In 1812. And in 2012. In Haiti. And in America.
Is it possible that we're limiting what God can do and wants to do in and through us and even for us by allowing cultural "norms" to over-invade?
As always, these are just thoughts in progress. But can I boldly (rudely?) suggest that we all schedule our time online to time when we're alone and for emergencies, and open back up doors for Him to use us and work through us to bring His healing, transforming, life-changing, and intimate love into other's lives? To talk to our kids? To call our friends? To reach out to a stranger?
When you're out and about, if you see a frumpy girl in baggy jeans with nothing in her hands who is looking at your face...talk to her!
It's probably just me.