I have a friend who is Colombian by birth, Catholic by orphanage, American by adoptions, Jewish by circumsion, and recovering by choice. In an effort to find his connection with God, he talked about becoming Orthodox. Now, mind you, his girlfriend started out orthodox but got herself removed from the services for using a pen to write. So, why he would desire to abide by strict rules does not make much sense to me.
At a Memorial day picnic we decided to challenge each other-no cell phones or computer for our particular Sabbath for the month of June. He is a technology junkie so I figured it would be more difficult for him. I was banking on my sheer stubbornness. Unfortunately, Sunday was the start, my Sabbath, not his. We discussed the ground rules on Saturday afternoon and with some nervousness, I began our technology fast days
(Now, certainly, to be orthodox, he would need to abstain from much more, but we are whimpy gen xers and we want to take it slow.)
It started off ok, but I noticed things I hadn't expected. I had been reading a book on the spiritual disciplines when I suddenly wanted to surf the net...from sudden boredom. In my head the recognition was...God isn't interesting enough? I wanted to check my email to see if my friends had emailed me....How about getting to know God? I wanted to call a friend to chat....How about talking to God?
I went to bed, praying as usual, with a sense of failure. I didn't use a phone or get online or anything that specifically violated the fast, but I became so acutely aware of the things I do out of desire to connect with something, someone, outside myself, but I do not consider God in those moments. I felt ashamed.
Yesterday was eye opening for me. Next Sunday I have to work at the hospital, but I am going to maintain this fast other than what I must do for work. I hope that I do a little better and include more time with God not just less time with my connections to people around me.