I write articles about spiritual disciplines. And you really can't do so without looking at the lives of the early fathers and mothers in the Church, whose lives help explain Christ's example of what living a disciplined life looks like. So in some ways I'm like a sports writer who wants to be like the athletes he so admires. Sometimes armchair ascesis is all I can muster. I'll be honest with you, it's difficult with little kids to have a daily rule of prayer. For instance. But ultimately the interruptions of kids are only another excuse.
That's a long lead in, with plenty of built-in excuses for my own weaknesses. Here's the story: I have written recently about Poverty and how there are some things I cannot justify having in my life that others have every right to own. The one thing I chose as an example of this was the iPhone. (O, sweet iPhone. How I've longed to hold thee in my chubby palms.) This is a device for whose expense I can find no justification (Ugh!) when there are people in need around me. Some people are helped mightily by these super smart phones, but my life is lived out in a different, slower part of life's stream. And then this summer, after I'd written this article using the iPhone as an example of living our lives in voluntary poverty for the good of others, my wife starts talking about a new phone. Hers is old. Spotty at best. Funky. And she is considering an iPhone. Ugh. Ugh. Now I don't mind her having one. It's a little expensive, but this summer we had the money and she, as I said, needed a phone. But I had to deal with my technolust for all things Apple, all things Jobian. I'd already been drooling over iPads, out of which I felt I could squeeze quite a bit of productivity, but had reconciled myself to not having one. I don't need one. And while visiting my family in Michigan, my brother tells me his school gave him one for free because he "volunteered" for something during a teacher meeting. Free.
Later my wife decides she's getting the iPhone. I say, "Don't get me one. I don't need it. I don't want it." But you know what she does? She forgoes the new iPhone 4G and, for the same price, gets two iPhone 3GS. -es. Now a better man, would have resisted and said No - or sent it back - but I am not a better man. So now I am the conflicted owner of an iPhone. I'm actually feeling my hypocrisy, the same hypocrisy that I regularly hide from myself fairly decently. I could have told my wife No, but I didn't. She said it wouldn't be any fun having one if I didn't have one too. And I have never been good at resisting her feminine wiles.
So it's her fault, dammit. The woman You gave me, she gave me the Apple.
C'est la vie. It's a sweet little device, regardless. You can't fault the woman for that.