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Precious real estate

October 10th, 2013

Maybe you dunked yours in a toilet. Maybe you fed yours to a dog. Maybe yours got run over by a car, drowned in a washing machine or was trampled by a stampede of freshmen girls running to catch Cabby D on a Thursday night. The possibilities are endless, but what is certain is that, in your time as a young adult, you have lost your cell phone.

I lost mine last week. It was literally (figuratively, for the English freaks who will be annoyed at the expression) the worst thing in the world. My world crashed down upon me as I came to many realizations, including: How am I supposed to meet up with people in the caf? How am I supposed to tweet utterly hilarious thoughts and musings about my day? (follow me @Nsciarappa) How on Earth will I call my mom? (When I forget, she gets real cranky.)  Most importantly, what will the masses do without seeing my side-splitting Snapchats?

My life seemed to take a crazy turn. There was no replacement for the empty spot in my heart where my cell phone used to be. But that got me thinking … I actually had a spot in my heart for my cell phone. I had precious warehouse space in my metaphorical heart devoted to my phone.  It didn’t seem right.

My cellular existential crisis of self-doubt and despondency brought me to the throne of the great author and Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton, who once said, “The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” These words totally applied to my cell phone situation. I realized that I actually loved my phone. One could say that I missed the social interaction that my phone represented, but I disagree. In the past few days, I have had plenty of human interaction. I would measure my social engagement as about the same with or without my phone. It was my phone that I missed, not the social engagements that came with it.

Two days after I lost my phone, I received some terrible news. A friend from back at home had passed away. She was young, maybe 19 years old. I didn’t know her well, but the interactions we shared were always pleasant and life-giving. Many of my friends were deeply saddened by her passing. I thought of Chesterton’s quote again as the news shook me. Now that she was lost, the pain I felt made me realize that I had love for her.

So there I was last Sunday night, comparing the two things I had lost. One, a piece of plastic, metal and electricity, and the other, a living, breathing person.

It’s obvious to say that one is more important than the other, right? Of course … but people seem to love things that aren’t as important as people. It doesn’t seem to be right that some CEOs live for money, Lady Gaga lives for the applause and girls on Twitter live for pumpkin spice lattes. People seem to love things that frankly, in the end, don’t really matter.

Perhaps the underlying lesson I was wrestling with was this: Love what is important. Don’t let material things take up the precious space of your heart. You need that space to love God, love yourself and love others.

I’d love to talk more about this, but I only have a certain amount of space allotted to me in this staff commentary. So let’s get in touch! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say! Don’t text me, call me, tweet me or Facebook me.  You see, I lost my cell phone. How about we meet up in person? I’d like that.