"I sought among them for a man that might set up a hedge, and stand in the gap before me in favor of the land." Ezekiel 22:30

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"Roughin' It"

Before I go any further, I must apologize. Due to some technical glitch, the content of this post did not actually go "live" the other day when I wrote it and intended it to. That's what happens when one tries to post from a "smart" phone I guess.

Which is all sort of the reason I tried to write this post in the first place.

So, here's another version of what I mean to post, albeit now in the past tense, and with much more content than the original.

***

I went "off the grid" this past weekend. Completely. I didn't just turn my phone off; I left it 75-90 miles away from the woods where I retreated. And I did it on purpose.

It was awesome.

For about 30 hours I never looked at my phone. I didn't receive a phone call. I didn't send a text, post to facebook, snap an instagram picture, or tweet a hashtag. I spent 30 hours without computer generated worry, without an awkward "I don't know what else to do so I'm going to check facebook" moment, without my hand in my pocket, fiddling with my electronic "precious."

That's what I call "roughin' it."

Thirty years ago it wouldn't have been so. Even 10 years ago such a feat wouldn't have been so dramatic. But now in 2013, with smart phones more prevalent than smart people, and more interaction done via radio waves than sound waves, leaving behind those alkaline-powered ball-and-chains is quite the feat.

Personally, I enjoyed it. I'd like to think that I could permanently disconnect and be far better for it. But alas, I fear it is not possible. I have too many goals; too many things I would like to accomplish. And technology is for me but a means to an end. For too many people however, technology seems to be not just an end, but the end.

You might ask, "What on earth did I do during that time, completely cut off from the rest of the world?"

And what an interesting question that would be.

Because for those 30 hours, I felt more "on earth" than I usually would. My life wasn't ruled by pixel - it was determined by people. I felt rock and grass under my feet, sand between my toes, and a river over my body. I got dirt beneath my fingernails and sun on my back. The loudest sound I heard for those 30 hours was the water rushing over a rocky riverbed. And oh, what a sound it was. Louder than any ringtone, yet as peaceful as silence.

I'm anything but a nature lover. Too much of a good thing can be, well, just too much. But I am a conservationist. As I considered what those thirty hours meant to me, I realized that perhaps our world is as it is because we've separated ourselves from nature. We've cut ourselves off from the great world in which we live. The very earth from which we draw our sustenance is to many sheltered masses a gross and revolting thing.

So, the next time you can, turn off your phone. Unplug the computer. Leave them at home and find a river. Get lost in the woods. Go away from highways and bright lights. Just enjoy God's creation for what it is: a wonderfully imperfect gift that will quickly remind us just how small we are, yet so fearfully and wonderfully made.

*Stepping down from his soapbox*

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