The Right to Disconnect


Author Jill Stark reported that French companies are now legally required to provide their employees with a "right to disconnect" — should we be following suit?

She related her own personal story. "There are 2,301 unread emails in my inbox. I feel like I'm perpetually in the middle of a conversation I never finish. I try to get through them — respond to the ones that matter, cull the ones that don't — but there's always more. It's a hallmark of modern life. 'Always on' is the new normal.

A journalist friend told me this week that he spent his summer holiday deleting 200 emails a day, just to avoid an overwhelming backlog when he returned to work. We used to say, 'good, thanks' when someone asked how we were. Now, the standard response is, 'crazy busy.'"

So for the French, the solution was to legally require companies to provide their workers the "right to disconnect" from technology outside normal working hours.

I bring up this example as we are nearing the time we know as Lent. Our theme is Busy: Re-Connecting to an Unhurried God. Regardless of whether you work or are retired, it seems like we are always "racing around." Many of us have dreamed of the day when we can simply "disconnect" from the everyday busyness we have experienced most of our lives. Yet, seniors are not immune from the "burnout of busyness." Burnout and exhaustion should be not be worn as badges of honor.

In our text this coming Sunday, Jesus takes his closest disciples and "dis-connects" from his "crazy busy" schedule of teaching and healing to re-connect with God through prayer and silence. It would do us all well if we could find our times and our ways to re-connect to our Life Source.

In the words of Jill Stark — "Turn off the phone. Hug your kids, or your cat, or yourself. Read a book. Stare at the wall and celebrate silence. Catch up with a friend — not to tick it off your to-do list — but because the richness of their conversation brings you joy. Take some time off, even if just for a few hours. There will always be more to do tomorrow: lists to get through, deadlines to meet. But today, in this moment, banish busy and breathe into the space. Sometimes, to be truly switched on, you just have to switch off."

And in the words of this "Papou," just hold my new granddaughter and thank God for the beauty of life in my arms.

See you Sunday!

Pastor Steve

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