Thursday, September 21, 2006

Distraction: Part 1

Images flickered on the screen as they huddled together in anticipation. I wanted to see what all the commotion was about, so I joined them for the season premiere of their favorite show. It was remarkably acted, the cinematography was good, the music was incredible and the character development from the previous season was woven in nicely. At the end, he told her he loved her. They all swooned, screaming and laughing in sheer excitement. My stomach churned. I was confused.

But...he's married. I thought, then spoke it aloud. They shushed me repeatedly as I protested. They didn't want to come out of their engrossment with the story and the characters. Apparently such an occurence was commonplace.

"You just don't know the background from last season," I was told. I don't care, I thought. Doesn't having a ring on your finger or taking a vow mean something anymore? I asked a few of them later on if they truly knew someone in the same situation in real life, would they be reacting the same way? I highly doubt it.

What is it about the entertainment world that so easily pulls us in? I find that my fellow humans thrive on vicarious thrills. We got to great lengths to seek them out. We stand in long lines at amusement parks for a 2-minute ride on a roller coaster. Our justification: "It's the biggest, fastest, newest, tallest..." The list goes on. We take hours out of our lives to watch our favorite shows. And our reasoning? "I just have to know what happens next." We sleep outside ticket vendors in the freezing cold just to get decent seats at our favorite band's concert, deeming it worthy because there is some magical quality to that singer or those band members.

Please do not misunderstand me. I believe there are healthy ways to enjoy entertainment. I myself have partaken in all the things I mentioned (except maybe for sleeping outside...that's where I draw the line.) But too often what drives us is that we want to be distracted. If we've lived for any length of time on the face of this planet, we've more than likely seen the incredible evil of which man is capable. We have experienced heartbreak, sorrow, desperation, emptiness, loneliness, disappointment, bitterness, anger and scores of other negative emotions. Somewhere along the line (or perhaps it's been all along), we have subsituted distraction for true healing. It often seems we (myself included) would rather live in someone else's world than face our own.

But I've come to realize something very important. Distraction breeds mediocrity, and mediocrity often leads to relativity. Our lives fall apart at the seams because we allow so many things to fill them, but when it finally comes crashing down, it leaves us emptier than when we began. What does it leave us with but images of people who don't exist, rushes of adrenaline that quickly subside, music that always fades and heads left spinning with a false reality?

Friends...brothers and sisters...there is so much more to life than living it vicariously through the next big thing. If we are to live wholeheartedly for our God, how can we do it if we refuse to weed out the distractions that come at us daily? I myself am am just as guilty as any in this. I am just as broken, sinful and distracted as any other person. But as I've often heard, there is beauty in the brokeness. be continued...


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