Light piano music filled the small L-shaped room. There were six chairs, one lamp, and a few magazines. To my right, the chiropractor sat behind his desk, going over paperwork. He had another patient coming before he could talk with me, so I pulled out my phone and started to read an article.
The door, only a couple steps to my left, clicked open and a man from India entered. He set down a leather book bag and sat across from me, also pulling out his phone. We looked at our screens, the piano filling in the conversation-less space.
“Ready?” asked the chiropractor, and he and the man stepped into the small office at the back of the room.
I turned back to my phone, but a thought was pulling at the back of my mind. This was the third chiropractor I had been to in an attempt to relieve some lower back pain. I had jumped feet-first into a long treatment plan with the last chiropractor but, taking the advice of my mother, I was seeking another opinion. What was my response going to be? If he suggested similar treatment, would I switch to him? What was my financial limit?
My phone rested in my hand. I could go back to reading, or I could take a moment and think.
Lately I have noticed my desire to be occupied. I’m in line at the grocery store and I immediately pull out my phone to read. I’m driving home from work and I immediately turn on music or a podcast. I’m sitting at home and scroll through Instagram, then Facebook, then Twitter, then back to Instagram, then through the iTunes App Store to see if there are any new interesting apps.
When was the last time I just sat? When I just looked around and let myself think?
There are financial things to think about. Stories I want to write and haven’t figured out yet. Verses I read in the Bible this morning, or the pastor’s sermon from last Sunday (if I can even remember it). Friendships or work duties to consider. But instead my mind is occupied with other things, and I never get around to thinking about things that actually matter. Instead I play Angry Birds, or read an article about the demise of Apple since Steve Jobs died.
Are these past times bad? Perhaps not. But if I don’t take advantage of the silent moments, when will I have time to process life?
I slipped the phone into my coat pocket. The piano played and I thought. After a few minutes the door to the back room opened, and the chiropractor waved me in.