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Pretzels and Lottery-Detoxing

Jordan wanders in and out of the half-open slider; a chilly spring breeze cools my hands. He’s been feeding me his pretzel snacks that I’m pretty sure he licked all the salt off of first. He is his mother’s kid.

We are on day two of a total screen detox for him – a habit of cartoons that we’ve slipped into easily. Yes, they are just fine in moderation, but the trouble is that, in my mom-of-a-toddler-and-a-baby weariness, we’ve far surpassed the moderation point. And so: detox.

He wanders in again, making his monkey noise and pointing to the tv, to my phone that holds the remote, asking for Curious George in his not-quite-talking-yet, two-year-old way of communicating. I smile and shake my head. He wanders back outside, picks up his truck, pushes the button to make it chase him, sucks the salt off of another pretzel tucked into his cheek for a solid four minutes.

As he wanders, I suddenly wonder: I’m screen-detoxing him. Should I also be intentionally detoxing me? Anxiety builds at the thought. I mean, social media is my business, right? It’s where I speak the words publicly that God has whispered to me privately. And to play the game and speak the words, I have to be present there. Right?

The words come swiftly: You aren’t playing a game. You’re playing the lottery.

Huh, I think, reaching for my journal, scratching the thought down. So much of my time, invested in this social media game lottery. And isn’t it funny – every lottery commercial you ever see has that rushed voiceover at the end, reminding the viewers that lottery games are based on chance, should be played for entertainment only and should not be played for investment purposes. (Also, p.s., the lottery, just like social media, can be addicting.)

I chew on the thought as Jordan finally chews on his now-saltless pretzel. I pick up the new book I’m reading, turning Katie Merrick’s words over in my mind, writing them on the open journal page:

“It’s only when we practice presence that we slow down enough to see how lovely our own lives are; it’s when we notice the flecks of gold in our child’s eyes, the calluses on our man’s hands. It’s when we turn down the noise so we can hear the whispers of God’s pleasure as we walk with Him in our work when we reflect His glory in our play.”

I can be fruitful without social media, too, I write. I can probably be even more fruitful because I am tending to my garden rather than flinging these wildflower word-seeds out to chance, hoping that something will maybe take root somewhere. Instead, when I’m practicing the art of presence, right here and now in my everyday reality, I’m tending to the growing roots of my two tiny men – guiding them down and packing in the soil as I tuck them into bed at night.

“It’s a journey to presence,” she writes. “To going off the grid and living life with intentionality. To choosing peace over chaos, little by little, turning down the noise, one discovery at a time.”

“Mommy!” Jordan’s little voice calls from outside. I look up and he waves and points at something he just built. And I put down the pen and close the journal and tuck the phone up onto the counter and lay down the chaos.

Maybe I’ll get my breath back.

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