I stood on the beach and watched this thing moved down the shoreline. Finally, this dark blob moving under the water poked up its head to draw a breath. I can’t say that I have ever seen anything like it in person. It was a wild sea cow or manatee swimming down the beach, enjoying the people and the day.
After seeing this fantastic spectacle of nature, I turned to say something to my wife, who was standing there with me. Behind her, I could see at least forty people holding their phones, taking pictures, or videoing this moment. I asked one person if they saw its head pop up and look around as it moved down the beach. They said no but informed me that they had the whole thing on video.
A sadness swept over me. These people had not been watching any of the events unfold. Instead, they were filming the whole thing. They were not enjoying the moment because they were documenting it.
With the existence of technology, we became convinced that we need to record everything somewhere along the way. Maybe it is because we hope we will video something that will make us rich or famous. Perhaps some people sit down and relive these moments with friends or relatives. I understand there are several good reasons to record these experiences, but I doubt that is true for most people.
My encouragement for anyone is quite basic. When you have special moments in life, truly take the time to experience them. Put your phone down when you hold that newborn and breathe deep. Smell that precious life and listen to them making noises only a baby makes. When you encounter a snow-capped mountain for the first time, leave the phone in the car and stand quietly before the awe-inspiring majesty of God’s creation. Take the time to feel the Spirit of God stir your soul when someone sings their praise for God with perfect pitch. Close your eyes and encounter the wonder of each moment that God gives you in the presence of something truly extraordinary. Enjoy the blessings of this life and write them indelibly on your soul.
Honestly, no one wants to watch your home video anyway. They may watch and speak nicely, but they do not care because second-hand experiences don’t hold the same feelings. Be sure you do not miss all God is doing in your life while you try to document it all for people who don’t care. No one wants to know if you have recorded a manatee; they want to know if you have genuinely seen one.