I was riding with a couple of family members who wanted to go mall shopping one afternoon.
Just a couple of minutes after leaving home, I looked at my pockets to pull out my cell phone to tinker with but I did not find it. I realized I had left it at home. But we decided not to turn back to get it. This gave me a feeling of missing something very important from my person.
The trip to the mall was a good half-hour and I figured I would have nothing to do while waiting for them to finish shopping. Without my phone I would surely get bored for hours. I usually brought a book to read before the cell phone craze.
I realized I had gotten attached to my cell phone. It occurred to me that probably my having found myself without it, and thereby feeling its absence at that time, was a moment of grace, or an opportunity to think about the virtue of detachment -- the virtue of not being excessively attached to things other than those actually and absolutely necessary.
Some things are necessary depending on the time and situation. Some things, although good and helpful, may fall under the category of what we can do without.
Here comes the virtue of detachment, which loosely means, indifference about things.
Detachment from things is possible only if we will train our sight on the time that is sure to come -- when all things will be taken away from us, whether we like it or not. Some things will still be around at some events in our lives but for which we will not even find a need or even think about, like stuff that have cluttered our garage or our closets and left untouched for years.
The opposite of detachment is attachment. Inordinate attachment to things can be a shackle that hinders our freedom to live and to grow in accordance with what we were created for.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, in his First Principle and Foundation of his Spiritual Exercises, talks about “making use of those things that help to bring us closer to God and leaving aside those things that don’t.” This idea may be radical to some, but it makes sense, if properly understood.
Reflecting deeper, material goods are not the only things human beings should not be inordinately attached to. Attachment to certain people can be inordinate if they become our sole reason for living, or if they lead us away from living in accordance with the purpose God created us for.
At the end of our lives, everything will just be between God and ourselves. When we stand alone before the judgement seat of God, we can not blame things that we valued too much, nor persons we aimed to please at any cost, from taking us away from the good graces of God.
It is only our decision on how we allowed ourselves to be either detached or inordinately attached to persons and things or not that will determine whether we will stay with God for all eternity or not.
How about desiring to be attached to God? So as not to be detached from God?
I believe we need to be wise and vigilant and have the correct hierarchy of values in our lives. We owe it to ourselves. After all, we have only one chance at it. #
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
Note: Without my cell phone on my way to the mall and while waiting for my family to finish shopping, I was able to write this blog article on a piece of paper and post it using my computer when we came back home.