Up is easily one of my favorite Pixar movies. Not only do I look like Russell, but I also love the story of Mr. Fredricksen learning how to open his heart again. He not only opens his heart to Russell but he also learns to love Dug the dog.
Dug is hilarious and I wish that he were my dog. I’m especially fond of Dug’s love for squirrels and their ability to distract him from almost anything. We actually have that in common with Dug: our ability to get distracted.
If we’re trying to work, study or spend time with friends, we face a number of distractions. We live in a world of constant noise: audio and digital. If we can’t identify the noise in our lives, then it might distract us from what’s really important.
Here are some of my biggest nerdy distractions.
I love my iPhone. I was lucky enough to get an iPhone 6 on launch day last Friday. The phone was delivered to church and, as soon as someone told me it came in, I was out the door. My phone always tends to be a distraction, whether from work or the people around me. It’s too easy to ignore the friends around me when I can see what’s happening with all of my digital friends. Getting the iPhone 6 was definitely a distraction. Last Friday I had to work on my sermon for the weekend but I got totally distracted by my new piece of technology. How could I be expected to practice my sermon when I had a brand new phone and iOS 8 to play with?
The Internet is a black hole of time wasting. I don’t know how many times I’ve opened up my laptop to look up one piece of information and then spent the next three hours reading about the X-Men on Wikipedia. I shake my head when my students tell me that they watch YouTube videos for hours on end. I’m just as bad, though, when I waste hours reading about pop culture, movies and sports. One story leads to another story, which leads to another story. I start wanting to see how much dodge balls cost and end up reading the complete backstory on how Marvel brought its Cinematic Universe to life.
Magic: The Gathering
Magic: The Gathering as a distraction is a fairly recent development. I played MTG when I was 13 but abandoned it for almost 20 years. Earlier this year, though, I picked it up again, which meant hours spent at card shops, organizing my cards and building decks. I love playing MTG and it has definitely strengthened some of my friendships. I do wonder, though, if there was anything more productive I could have done with my time other than sticking cards in sleeves and alphabetizing them.
None of these distractions are bad in and of themselves. They’re only dangerous when we allow them to pull us away from the things that really matter. If we’re spending more time looking at our phone screen than the faces of our loved ones, then something is wrong. If we spend all of our time connected to the Internet but no time connected with God, then something is wrong. Distractions should allow us to unplug from the real world for a time, but they shouldn’t become our world.
What are some of your biggest nerdy distractions?