A friend lamented to me that he was tired of hauling things around. He said every time he went to the store, he had to haul his wallet, his keys, and his phone.
“Are you kidding me?” I chided. “That is not hauling! You should try carrying my purse with you everywhere you go! Now, that’s hauling!” He recanted slightly. I then reminded him that it was rare even to have pockets in my clothes. “No,” I told him. “You have no reason to complain!” We had a good laugh.
Directly following this conversation, I went for dinner at a local restaurant. I decided to leave my purse at home -- with all of its indispensable items that just might be needed should I ever be kidnapped or stranded on a remote mountaintop! I decided to ‘haul’ only my keys, my wallet, and one of my two phones.
I proudly stepped out of my small California apartment feeling as free as a bird. No backpack weighing me down and no heavy purse slung over my tiny shoulders – just a wallet, a phone, and keys. I did, for a moment, wonder if I should go back inside and retrieve my tube of lipstick. One never knows when a talent scout might be lurking – and what talent scout would be interested in me if I had my lips were not colored with lipstick? I chose to keep going to my car, however, confident that the restaurant I had selected would not be sporting talent scouts.
When I arrived at the restaurant – on a Monday night at 6:25 p.m., mind you – I was told it would be a 15 minute wait! I couldn’t believe it. What would I do with myself? I had brought my personal phone rather than my work phone, so I couldn’t waste away the 15 minutes answering work email. I had no pad of paper to write on. I had no book to read. In short, there was nothing to do but stand and stare at the soon-to-be cooked fish behind the glass counter. After maybe 2 minutes of this rather unimaginative activity, I took a quick peek at my personal email. When it was clear that nothing new had occurred in my life since the last time I had checked it (less than 15 minutes previously), I dutifully clicked the button and put it in sleep mode. This had effectively utilized at least 3 more minutes. I looked around and focused my eyes toward the fish display once again.
Much to my surprise, I was seated a few moments later. I placed my order and stared into space, and thought for a moment, how nice it was to simply be there, aware and present, waiting for my food. This lovely reverie was cut short, however, by an internal insistence to check my phone. Unable to resist, I took it in my hand, and managed to occupy myself so thoroughly with it that I was actually startled when the waiter stood there with my food! I had left my apartment unencumbered – or, so I thought. What I should have done was leave the phone behind!
It seems we haul even when we’re not hauling possessions. We haul boredom and angst, lack of imagination, the need to be entertained minute by minute, the hunger for new information, the need to review old information, the need to share our every movement with our friends, our curiosity about who’s thinking about us enough to send us an email, the projects that need to be done, etc. In other words, we ‘haul’ way more in our souls than we do in our purses and packs.
The Holy One has placed us in a world of infinite possibility and creativity. It is a world rich with sound, color, and texture. As wonderful as technology is, it might be good for me to go to dinner next time with just my wallet and keys! That is, leave my phone behind!
I did, on the way home, notice a full moon with a soft line of wispy white cloud crossing it like a soft breath. I was awestruck. I pulled my car over to the side of the road, rolled down my window and took a picture with – yes, my phone. I rather wish I had taken a picture with just my eyes and held the wonder in my soul instead of my ‘Photos.’