Saturday night I had a girls' night with a few good friends. We gathered to watch the Miss America pageant. While we talked I found that a few of my friends have been heavily involved in pageants. The friend who was hosting was actually Mrs. Wisconsin in 2007 and competed in the national Mrs. United States pageant!
Now, I've never given much thought to pageants. I knew that a lot of them offer scholarships and community service opportunities. And I knew that, as long as you stayed away from the trashier ones, it was usually good, clean fun.
But as we were chatting, the subject of platforms came up. Not the platforms that you wear on your feet, but the platform that each contestant has; what she plans to work toward during her reign as Miss or Mrs. whatever. And I was SO impressed with what I heard. My friend, Mrs. Wisconsin, had a platform she called "Less Viewing, More Doing." She went all through the community, to businesses and schools, promoting TV Turn-off Week, and the idea that we need to unplug our electronics and get plugged back into life. I immediately fell in love with this idea.
And I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
Like everyone else in the world, I've slowly devoted more and more time to things like Facebook and blogging. At first it was so novel. How great for me, being so far away from my family and friends, to be able to easily keep up with their day-to-day lives and activities. What fun to be able catch up with people I haven't seen since high school or college, and watch as they get married, have kids and travel.
But somewhere along the way this lovely little gift has started to weigh me down. If I post something on Facebook I find myself checking back in multiple times each day to find out if anyone commented. And, since I happened to be there anyway, I would take a few minutes and scroll through everyone's status updates or new pictures. And, sure enough, little by little, I was robbing myself of precious time that could have been spent so much more productively! And I knew it was happening. I could feel it happening. But it was also very easy to rationalize it. "I'm a stay-at-home mom!" I'd say. "I need to feel contact with other sentient beings, because if I hear one more Barney song there's a good chance my brain is going to explode." Or, "I think my friend/sister/acquaintance is having a bad day. I should really check up on them."
And really, there's nothing wrong with those arguments. To a point.
Yesterday, while sitting in Sunday School, we were discussing the Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life. In this vision there is a description of a mist of darkness that confuses and disorients people, ultimately leading them away from the Tree (away from God). As we related this mist to our own lives, a few people made comments. They called the mist a "distraction" or something that made it difficult for us to accomplish what we set out to do. Another congregant pointed out that the mist never takes us anywhere. It's only purpose is to keep us from the staying on the straight and narrow path that returns us to God. The mist offers us nothing.
And again, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
Do you ever get the feeling Someone is trying to tell you something?
**EDIT: I want to point out that I'm talking about something that's really affecting ME right now. I can't speak for other people's habits. Also, I don't plan to abandon FB or blogs anytime soon. I have too much extended family to keep up with. I just want to put some serious limits on it and cut back. Like, only checking FB after the kids are asleep, or only checking it once/day. I don't know yet what is going to be the right answer, but I know I need less of it, and quick!