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Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve exchange on technological vice for another. True, I am no longer text or watching TV or movies for the Lenten season, but this morning I discovered the Ipod shuffle.
Tried it out on my bicycle. Might as well have been tipsy or high! Really fun, but very distracting!
The back story here is that I’ve never really used an ipod. Tried it in the gym a couple times a few years back but the cords got in the way. Otherwise, there’s no place in my environment where it makes sense to have one. I either can’t be listening to music because I’m with someone, or I have liberty to play my music off my computer for all to hear.
The only place I could have used an ipod is on my bicycle.
For a long time I resisted because I liked riding without music. The time being quiet and mentally detaching was nice. Also, I rely heavily on my sense of hearing to avoid collisions. That, and I just didn’t have an ipod.
Well…turns out my wife had an ipod shuffle which she no longer uses. So I tried it out.
Seriously, this is what I imagine it would be like to be high while biking. Having music is exhilirating and makes the ride go by faster and I don’t feel the burn in my legs nearly as much! At the same time, my hearing is seriously compromised and because my headphones aren’t great and I’m not used to the wires, my physical motions are hindered as well. I feel happier emotionally, but much more sluggish physically.
Also, having music makes prayer and profound thought on a bicycle much more difficult to accomplish.
I’m thinking that…maybe I don’t want this new technology. I was going to call it a “Vice” but that’s not completely fair. Music does great things, technology does great things…but I don’t see how this bit of musical technology is going to help me any. I already listen to music every spare moment I can, which I justify by doing my writing while under the influence of tunes.
Really though, what about silence?
What is so difficult about silence?
What is it about being undistracted that we seek to avoid?
Really that’s what the theme of Lent has been for me this year. Distractions and un-distractions and becoming more aware of everything. I distract with media; TV, movies, music. I distract from real time face to face life with an ongoing text conversation. I distract from family life with work and from work life with friends and from friend life with writing and from writing with family…
Listening to music and movies both are really effective at dulling everything else. They give the mind something else to think about so they don’t have to think about pain. Physical pain. emotional pain. spiritual pain.
I know I’m not alone. And I know the list of available behaviors and substances with which to distract goes on and on and on. Alcohol, Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, Meth, Pills, Food, Sex, Porn, Video Games, Shopping, Reading, Empty Religion(which is different than genuinely seeking God), Exercise…
Taking away my distractions, I definitely feel my tiredness more. I’m even …feeling physical pain more.
Lots of pain has been coming up. At the same time though, the urge to pray has been growing stronger. And what relief when that is the urge I satiate.

Blessed be God my Savior
My refuge and my relief
Blessed be Jesus my Redeemer
Who endured pain and isolation to bring me comfort
Blessed be the Spirit of God my Comfort
That draws me to the Presence of God