How is your relationship with paper these days?
Recently my aunt revealed a family artifact from the 1940's. It was a large volume of The Daily (newspaper) from the University of Washington. My Granddad in his college days worked for The Daily in various capacities. The paper itself was heavy, almost like parchment, and the ink had an emerging neon like-quality outlining the black of the nostalgic typeface. The ads depicted products and services likely departed from institutional memory.
"What do we do with it?" First things first, I had to put it down. It was heavy. I thought it might be able to be a coffee table book, assuming the table was the size of a standard door. I wondered if the U Dub would want this archival piece, but I'm sure they have their fair share of archives. "Let's keep it in the family." I appreciated the sentiment, because I will examine the volume one day. In some ways I wasn't sure it was wise to keep. This volume is big, bulky, and a lot of paper. I wondered about the value and usefulness of this paper.
Last night at a meeting, a member of the congregational Transition Team handed me a piece of paper with an article about our work together for the church newsletter. I didn't want the piece of paper. I'm less likely to read the piece if the writing is on paper. I asked her if she could email it to me. I was a little surprised by my request. I immediately started thinking about how I ended my newspaper subscription at the end of November. I like some of the tactile activity of reading the newspaper, but I don't miss it like I thought I would. My cycle of actions is beginning to disengage my life from the printed word. About the only reading I look forward to reading is a letter or card from a family member or friend, or a book I'm looking forward to reading, or for most of my Bible study. I imagine that will change soon, I can't quite get myself to direct 300 dollars toward a Kindle at this time. The iPhone I purchased in October has expedited the shift from paper to electronic communication and reading.
I know others have gone through this transition without much thought, pain or reflection. I can't say what I'm feeling with disengaging from paper is pain. I think that paper is a medium for relationships. My understanding of news and writing came through my relationship with my Granddad and paper. I still like writing and receiving cards from the people I love--especially handwritten cards. The Bible carries a bit more meaning when I turn pages and use my hands with the gentle motion of page turning and using my finger. This is my relationship with God we are talking about.
I can now imagine a day where I am not reading a printed word on paper for hours at a time. Last night I caught a glimpse of that life and the transition I am making. I'm not sure my life will be hurt by this change. That life is definitely different.