Along Twin Ponds Road

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By Ray Willis

Have you dined recently with a friend, spouse, or family member, perhaps to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

How many of you spent most of that time looking at that person across the table or next to you and had a conversation?

No?  Was it because you were too busy texting someone or speaking to someone on your cell phone?  

And you, Mr. and Mrs. Jones, why are you seated across from one another on Valentines Day, of all days, in this romantic establishment hiding behind your newspaper?

Whoops, I forgot that you both are working too hard and have no time to read during the week so you catch up when you go out to dinner.  My sister-in-law informed me that that is why she and her man read while dining together.  

I never became that busy in my career.  Today whenever I take my honey out to eat, I love looking at her.  I enjoy her winning smile.  I love to hear her talk, especially with her Southern accent.   I can even detect that she loves me by the way she looks at me.

I treat my friends the same way whenever I’m out with them.  I talk to them. I want to hear what’s new in their lives.  I’ve cared what that person next to me is thinking or feeling for over 50 years!

Do I use a cell phone?  Yup, when I have to.  Do I use Facebook or Twitter?  Not on your life!  

I’m a friendly guy; I like people.  I enjoy walking down a sidewalk or a street wherever I am living and greeting those humans I encounter.  I have done this throughout most of my life in just about every section of our great country.

Do I have a life other than greeting people on the street?  Yup!  In fact, I’m busier now that when I was working a real job.  But it’s still important to me that people know I care about them.  It’s even nicer whenever the gesture is returned.

Nowadays more and more people do not want to greet or speak with one another in so many public settings.  They’re too busy, or distracted to bother with anyone other than whomever or whatever is on that latest electronic device that they are holding in front of them, the one they seem to be in love with.

Grandchildren don’t even want to bother with grandparents.  They’d rather sit in the back seat totally engrossed with the latest device than have a conversation.  It’s not their fault; they are a victim of the times they live in.

I don’t want the world to be able to get in touch with me anywhere, anytime, never have, never will.  I value my quiet time and privacy.  Do you honestly enjoy being in touch electronically every minute of the day or be almost totally accessible to the world?

The Tallahassee Democrat printed an article about banning texting while driving last week. Yippee!  Oh, oh, I just lost a few readers.  Yea! Whoopee!  It’s about time!

Some of you have heard or might remember the song: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”   It is also in my Baptist hymnal.   

In Job 12:10 are found some of the same words: “In His hand is the life of every creature, and the breath of all mankind.”

In that song the writer(s) is referring to God and how He has the whole world in his hands.  That’s right, not only has God got the whole world in His hands, He’s got the wind and rain, tiny little babies, and you and me, brothers.

What have you got in your hands whenever you gaze into that magic thingamajig you hold in front of you?  Does it offer you security and peace?  Does it offer you a promise of a better world?

Whenever I see someone texting or using a cell phone in public places that I never would dream of, I think, that that person has the whole world in his or her hands.  Sad, isn’t it?  It seems that too many of us just don’t care much about paying attention to that live person next to us the way we used to.

Am I trying to say you are wrong to use your exciting and new communication devices?  No, I am not.  And when I was younger it was important to me that I have the latest device, be it transistor radio or the newest stereo equipment.  Most of the time I did not have them.

Older generations didn’t seem to become as distracted as people are today.  As Dave Branon wrote in his essay, “Distracted” in Our Daily Bread (2/7/10) recently, things that seem to have value for many today (like laptops, or instruments to check things on the internet, and cell phones) can draw people’s  attention away from  what we should be paying attention to, such as the people around us, and most of all, God’s wonderful creation.

God bless you.   

Send comments and suggestions to coot5864@hotmail.com.