I find that much of my time is spent as a watchman. I watch children, the news, social media. I watch for the shortest line at the grocery store, for when the stoplight will turn green, for how many minutes are left before dinner, before bath, before BEDTIME(!!). My eyes stretch large, squint small. I push glasses up the bridge of my nose or blink contacts into clarity. This is my job, I think. To watch, to perceive, to discern. To be articulate with my mental presence.
I don’t usually wear a watch, but I do carry a phone. This device acts as a watchman’s telescope, but it can also be an Achilles Heel.
Sometimes my phone captures crucial evidence of my work: photos of my family, texts that hoist relationships into the buoyancy of everyday life, the verse of the day, a daily devotional, and weather conditions that might affect my hair.
But it can also distract. And each time it feels accidental, like I fell through a trap door in my kitchen, in my living room, at the playground. I accidentally stare at useless images, get too wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. I spend minutes reading Instagram captions while eggs are burning black and my child is taking off her own diaper. In those moments I wonder if someone has turned off the gravity that should be anchoring my brain.
Often, I’m a watchman with unfocused eyes, looking at things without weighing them, spectating without pondering. Eyes awake, brain asleep. Passive.