The title of this picture according to its source is "Spare Time." I believe it is misnamed. This is life. All the time. Life for so many of us. Young. Old. In between. We are constantly checking a screen, using a screen, absorbed by a screen. While it's true we've all come to depend on devices to get work and school stuff done during the pandemic, we were well down the road of dependency long before 2020. Gaming. Posting. Tagging. Liking. Snooping. Stalking. What might we miss if we look up?
Personally, I think that question is backwards. What tugs at my heart is this: what are we missing because we don't look up? Whose expression do we not see because we're checking email? What grand exhibition of nature's beauty slips by because we're scrolling through Facebook posts? How many opportunities to offer help to someone in need evaporate because we're in the middle of an imaginary interplanetary battle? Yes, connection and communication are hugely important but why is it so rare to see people sitting across a table from one another actually looking at each other?
Years ago, I came across a clever little list of "7 Ups" and while I can't remember all of them, I know one of them is "Look Up." The word "up" has long had religious/spiritual/divine implications. We point to the sky when we speak of heaven. Psalm 121 begins with the words, "I lift up my eyes to the hills - from where will my help come?" The prophet describes the effect of God's power as enabling people to "mount up with wings like eagles" (Isaiah 40:31). Jesus baffled religious leaders with his comment about raising up a temple in ruins (John 2:19, speaking of himself). So, what might we be missing if we are not looking up, seeking help from up above, being lifted up, and living in the power of our Lord who is raised up?
More importantly, what excuses are we hiding behind for keeping our eyes from meeting the eyes of others or seeing the tears of another or beholding the majesty of our Creator God? What do we fear? It's true - it can be risky to look up. Isaiah did it in the temple one day and was never the same. Some fishermen did it while going about their business and wound up going in a totally different direction. What might happen should we dare look up?