(or choosing the right filters for life )
Sometimes I wish we could go back to the era of candlelight – when soft warmth illuminated the important things, and mystery covered everything else.
Some say squinting at bright lights, blue lights, and LED’s is just an introvert problem… but I think there’s something deeper there. Why is it that we all feel the tug to take a picture of the fiery red suns at dusk, or the dusty pink ones at dawn? I think it’s quite simple: we like the warmer lights.
We like them, but we don’t necessarily live by the light of them. Now let’s be honest. These are the days of blue screens, blue light, blue LED’s. There is something intoxicating about the media age – in the space of a minute, we can snap a picture, swipe for a filter, post it, and collect reactions and praise. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the platform of screen lights. Light is power, but power can both grow life and kill it.
Light is power, but power can both grow life and kill it.
The question is not whether we should run from media or run to it; it’s how to balance between the two. This is no longer a world where yellow light is the only light (*sigh*). Ours is a world of sunsets and screens, yellow and blue, natural and new.
Power pulses from these lights, but we’ve been given the dimmer. We get to choose which lights to brighten, and which lights to fade.
There’s a storyline of tragedy slowly threatening the joy of this generation. When the imitations behind our screens glitter brighter than the realness of the people and places in front of us, we have a problem. It’s a filtering problem.
So how do we choose the right filter? How do we work the dimmer on this great lamp of technology? I think there are three questions we must daily ask ourselves so we can let the lights in our life (screens or otherwise) be life-givers, not life-killers.
1| Do I spend more time enjoying the warmth of right now than I do on a screen away from it?
2| Are my face-to-face relationships a higher priority than my virtual ones?
3| Does my time on a screen drive me to truth instead of envy or negativity?
Let’s ask ourselves these questions, honestly, truthfully.
Often when I ask them of myself I don’t like the answer. And I don’t like what it would mean for me to change my habits so that I can like my answer. It’s so much easier to continue my life as is – to opt out of the rawness of a morning spent waiting for the pink of the sun, or talking with the God who is the very source of that light. How often do I choose instead a scroll on social media?
But when I do choose to chase the warmer light, there’s a rosy tickle that lasts all day. It makes its mark through earnest conversations, simple joys, and soul-deep smiles.
So let’s make the small changes. Let’s slide the blue-light dimmer just a bit lower than full-light. Let’s welcome in the warmth of right now, and let’s learn to protect it.
…BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Sometimes ideas have a funny way of packing up and leaving us after a week-long stay. It’s too easy to forget what’s true and keep on as before. BUT, there’s something about poetry that tends to stick around a little longer. So check out my latest poem, “Pond-keeper” below, which dives into this warm-light idea even more.
A poem for the warm-light chasers.
“If you want to get warm, you move near the fire. If you want joy, peace, eternal life, you must get close to what has them.”-C.S. Lewis