Away from My Family

Nov 05th 2011

Too many days of travel filled my last three weeks of living.  Coaching Certification in DesnMoines.  Converge Overseer Board meetings in Cleveland.  A gathering of large church pastors in Charlotte.  A seminar on story-telling with the Chief Story-Teller of Pixar films in New York City.  Too many days on the road.

I like to travel, but I don’t like being away from home, away from my family.

So when a blog-post by Jon Acuff (The Biggest Lie about Travel We All Believe) caught my eye, it also convicted my heart.  Jon had been traveling for awhile and made this observation about being distant from family.  He writes,

But in doing that, I ran across a dangerous lie that wounds countless marriages.  I bumped into it after the 49th person said to me, “I don’t know if I could travel like that and be away from my wife and kids that much.” And here’s the lie hidden inside that statement: “You need a plane ticket to be distant from your family.” You don’t. You just need an iPhone. Or a laptop. Or a million other media distractions we throw our lives at.  I have friends who travel less than me but are less present in their marriages because when they’re home, they’re not really home.

You probably don’t need to worry about the distractions of media, but I know that quote convicted my heart.  Of course I’ve been prepped a bit by my friend Chris Heinz who has been pondering this same issue. (You can read the first of a three-part series he did by Clicking Here.)

I know that I’ve spent at least one too many nights at home with a laptop on my lap.  One too many dinner conversations have been interrupted by a smartphone txt, twitter, facebook alert or email notification.  When I was in Des Moines for four days, that distance was obvious, pronounced, unmissable.  I was away from my family.  But sometimes virtual distance leaves us more “away” than the mileage.

The point was driven home last week when I was driving home from Cleveland.  Usually my alone time in a car while driving long distances is my best time with God.  For a variety of reasons, this time I was really looking forward to that time alone with God.  But this black little droid kept stealing my attention.  Amazing that the possibility a new email might have come in, or that someone might have liked my note on facebook could steal my moments with God.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to get rid of all my technology.  I’m not sure what I would do without my laptop.  I’ve even been looking at a tablet (nope not an ipad, not drinking that cider).  But here’s what I’ve decided:

1) I think I’ve decided (yes that is hesitancy creeping into my voice) that my smartphone is getting a downgrade.  It’s too easily immediate.  I carry it with me everywhere I go and it has this tendency to rudely interrupt personal conversations.  I’m hoping that a dumb phone might make me smarter.

2) No more email on my day off.  If you send me an email on Thursday, it won’t get answered till Friday…at the earliest.

3) No more laptops on my lap when I should be connecting with people.  No more laptops during the day at meetings and no more laptops at night with Lynn and my family.

It’s time to come home, don’t really like being away from family that long.