I have been overwhelmed lately. A feeling of disconnection has come over me and I am struggling to make sense of it and to feel connected once again. The irony is that this disconnection evolves from our modern world with its sophisticated and savvy technological advancements that are intended to keep us connected at all times. I have texting on my cellular phone, email retrieval on my I-Pod Touch, voice mail at the home phone, internet on my laptop and wireless throughout the house. So much information is coming at me -- bombarding me at all times reminding me to check my Facebook account or text a fellow mom about coffee or reply to a volunteer email or a beep from my I-Pod alerting me of new email. At times I just want to turn EVERYTHING off and hide. Shut it down. Be free of the constraints of it all. I want to disconnect.
On a much smaller scale, I think it gives me a glimpse of what Sean must feel many times throughout the day -- a lack of connection and belonging -- snowballing into a feeling of isolation and a need to be alone. I think my son isn’t unaware of his feelings or input from the world, but rather, he is overwhelmed and scared from the amount and the constant activity. He wants nothing more than to belong and yet the rules of the game require so much commitment and knowledge that it is just too much for him bear. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not that he is sometimes alone in his own world entirely by choice but maybe more because it’s his only sense of wholeness, it’s a tactic for survival.
My sister said to me the other day on the phone, “Perhaps Sean is a reminder to all of us to slow down, to take a deep breath and to just be.”
I think that’s true. I sometimes find myself wide awake at 3 a.m. torturing myself with all that I haven’t accomplished, deadlines that I have missed and paperwork that remains undone. And then I think about what I am going to do the next day and began to make mental lists in my head, meanwhile robbing myself of any sleep or peace. By morning I am a shadow of the person I need to be and I’m trying to operate in a fog as the demands keep growing. Check the email -- 40 unread messages. Voice mail on home phone hasn’t been checked in days and I can’t even find the cell phone.
Maybe Sean has it right. Maybe he and other children like him are shouting silently to the rest of us to Stop! Take a step back. Give ourselves a fresher perspective. Hold in our hearts the things that really matter (and which are not things). Life shouldn’t feel like a dizzying merry-go-round, our feet kicking up dust and our hands chasing after something to hold onto, to pull us aboard so that we can move in circles. Maybe the secret is only to simply be still and let the world unfold in front of us, to slowly drink it all in and to just be. Maybe the bells and ringtones and alarms are distracting us from what matters, deafening us from hearing the strong, almost silent beat of the heart.
So today I am trying to rise above the noise. Who is to say that this world we live and work so hard in is “normal.” Maybe Sean’s approach is normal and it’s the rest of us that could use some help. Now wouldn’t that be ironic!
Sam Smiles Project
3 months ago