When Your Cell Phone Needs a Seat Belt. 

I grasped the uniquely knobby VW shifter, thrust it into passing gear, and slipped delicately within a nook tucked tightly between two 18-Wheelers, whose inhospitality quickly nudged me into the passing lane, the wide openness of which beckoned me on a swift westward journey across the State of Tennessee highways. With time abundant, I tossed my mobile tether to the passenger seat and summoned old friends, John Hiatt, Chris Knight and Robert Earl Keen, to keep me company along the way.

As the mellifluous apparition settled in the seat beside me, his croaky voice crossing muddy waters, a cacophonous tone pierced the canorous ambiance, the VW screaming for the dusty troubadour to secure his safety harness. As I gazed into the glowing warning lamp casting a menacingly red hue throughout the dusky cabin, and with my head slumped in shame, I reached across to latch the seat belt around the behemoth beside me, its girth pressing into the faux leather seat, and snuffed out the intrusive illumination with an unsatisfactory click.


Reclining against the ludicrousness, I reflected on the image of the overbearing tool of distraction and intermediation strapped beside me, which called into question the direction of humanity. A tool loved as equally as hated, a facilitator of continuous connectedness, morphed into a kidnapper of presence, a robber of intimacy and experience.

As hostages take periodic peeks over the tops of their devices at televisions blaring nonsense, as they tweet about the nonsense they are only half-watching, as they sit among family and friends typing fervently away unaware of the conversation, as they mumble “Hmm?” in response to their kids’ quests for their attention, as they prioritize electronic alerts over people they are with, the hostages are never fully present in either of the worlds vying for their attention.

As time passes and brunette fades to grey, might those missed moments of presence mean more than all of their captivity combined? Will any of the hostage’s five thousand followers take him by the hand in prayer when a loved one is lost? Will parents regret not having enjoyed more online time before their children left the nest? Was the conversation interrupted and missed less valuable than the email checked?51ibsfrqaml-_sx940_

We are willingly, even if unwittingly, wisked away from the present, flesh and bone replaced with metal and glass. Just as a perpetuated fib grows larger and larger, so grows the kidnapper of our souls as we misplace more and more value in it. Mine has reached the point of requiring its own seat belt. Embarrassing enough as that may be, do I let it grow any bigger?

Does your mobile device require its own seat belt? If it does, what about shutting it down and enjoying being present in the moment you are in, enjoying the fellowship of those around you, and letting those around you know they are more valuable than metal and glass?

How about helping your kids learn to respect and value those who surround them by shutting off their devices while in these intimate moments?

How about leading a good example for others?

Perhaps it is not too late to stop the ever growing menace from reaching such height of worship that VW not only requires it to be safely restrained but also protects it with a personalized air bag. Isn’t that a next logical step considering the priority many place in their mobile devices over in-person human companionship?

28 thoughts on “When Your Cell Phone Needs a Seat Belt. 

  1. I’ve been pondering these same things for the past several months. I’ve been observing others as the are totally engrossed in their mobile devices, whether on the road, in an airport, church and restaurants. Social interaction has been replaced by an app.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it has. Was watching my son the other day, and he walked to the pantry to get something to eat, his phone chimed, and he stood in the pantry with his elbow propped up on the shelf texting for a long time. He got through and walked away with no food. Didn’t even remember why he was in the pantry.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Argh! Guilty!!!! My DH has threatened to throw mine out the car window numerous times. But but but my people need my prayers, my encouragement, my likes (and now love ❤️)….oh who am I fooling??? 😖

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Only you know whether their needs are something you would want to meet regardless of them sending the stuff over the mobile. My question to myself is this too: and if everyone seems to hit reply/comment with ‘Praying!’ then you can find yourself being compelled not to look callous but having to say you’ll pray too … The trick to try? Maybe Mindfulness: I am in the present moment with my present task … 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Your children will benefit greatly then. I’ve only recently noticed how severe my oldest’s addiction to his mobile device is. Breaking a habit is much more difficult than protecting from one forming. Glad you are focused on that early. We got sneaked up on.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. It helps to be on board with my husband for sure. I see it with the high school teens I teach.. sometimes it is their IV line.. sigh. With prayers and new conduct we can re-mold those little ones 😀

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the post and the comments that followed!

    “A tool loved as equally as hated, a facilitator of continuous connectedness, morphed into a kidnapper of presence, a robber of intimacy and experience.”

    That brilliantly sums it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this yesterday but didn’t have time to reply. However, that has given me time to pause on it. I have to agree that we have become a society driven by our devices. I once went to dinner at the Red Lobster with a friend. At the next table was a family, sisters, cousin, mom and aunt. There were people at the table and they all were on the phone pretty much the whole time of dinner. This was about ten years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yep, I agree. I have found myself needing to put it away, ignore it, just stop looking already. I only recently purchased a smartphone & only when my flip-phone broke. It helps me grow our farm-based business, but it has also invaded my private life. Balance is required, & I can do that only through the Spirit of Christ in me.

    Liked by 1 person

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