In Real Life

Rumor has it that tickets to an Adele concert cost $300 each. It's no surprise that those fortunate enough to obtain tickets would take their smartphone cameras with them. Last weekend, one fan in Italy took "capturing the moment" one step further. Supposedly, she took a full-fledged video camera and set it up on the arena floor with a tripod.

Adele somehow saw the tripod in the huge venue. She didn't like what she saw. And she said so.

Can you stop filming with a video camera?

I’m really here, in real life.

You can enjoy it in real life

Rather than through your camera.
— Adele

The media's coverage of the incident varied. Fellow musicians applauded Adele's protection of the live show. Some fans said that they believed paying so much for a ticket justified the fan's decision to record the show. Some journalists said it's okay to take a few photos or videos to capture lasting memories. Others lamented how such recordings could hurt an artist's music sales. 

The incident reminded me of a Roseanne Cash concert I attended at Dockery Farms last summer.  As soon as the band took the stage, the audience lit up with smartphone cameras. I had recently opened an Instagram account and wanted to post a photograph, too. I held up my camera to get a good angle, but I couldn't find one for all of the heads in front of me and the phones held over those heads. I tried to listen to her opening song while zooming the lens, but that kind of multitasking is easier said than done. I don't even remember the name of the song, and I had no video or photo of the memory either.

When the first song ended, Cash announced that they would play her album, The River and the Thread, from start to finish. Shouts of joy followed. The delta landscape where we sat had inspired most of the songs on that album. Cash and her husband, John Leventhal, had written most of the songs after a long road trip through delta. To hear songs live in their birthplace was a rare opportunity. The announcement jolted me to the reality that I needed to enjoy the concert 'in real life.'

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
— Matthew 6:34, The Message Translation

I recently learned of a 'hip' acronym that people use called FOMO. It stands for "Fear Of Missing Out." I thought it was some kind of joke until I consulted the resource of all things hipster, Urban Dictionary. Sure enough, FOMO is a deep worry among many people. As a result of FOMO, people are more concerned about documenting their life experiences on social media for everyone to see than actually seeing the beauty of what's right in from of them.

Sometimes we're so worried about missing something important that we miss the importance of right now. The night of Roseanne Cash's concert, I put away my phone and sat back to listen and to watch. While I did snap one photo of her onstage during the encore, I tried to 'give my entire attention' to what God was speaking through music and place for that night.

What if we approached life with the same resistance to multitasking, to FOMO in all its forms?

How different would our lives be through the lens of real life instead of hiding behind so many camera lenses?

Perhaps we would hear the voice of God in the live voice singing right in front of us.

all good things to each of you,

Pastor Darian