You plan those vacations and get-aways on purpose for a purpose.
You have to invest in them financially way before you go or after (or both).
You have to clear your schedule to disappear and then when you leave you have to clear your mind to enjoy the moment.
It actually takes something akin to work to be able to ‘rest’ while you are away!
Should it be this hard?
When I took off with Lenny’s three sisters on a 9 day adventure and cruise last month we were all ready to step back from our ‘norm’ and disconnect. We did a countdown. Packed our bags. Loaded up and took off down the road!! Unplugged right? Wrong. We were all packing. Oh, not a gun (at least not all of us :o) but something far more difficult to dodge than a bullet… technology.
My goodness, Sherry how can you say that when your main input is via connecting through the media? Well I am saying it because there is a reason I disappear off the grid to write and it is so I won’t be distracted and get so caught up in everybody else’s moments that I miss out on what God is trying to do right now in me. To be honest I have never ‘disappeared’ where I did not have phone service. I just have it off. AND I am not hiding out actually I always tell two or three people where I am but family and friends don’t expect me to call and chat or text or get on social media. I REALLY do unplug.
But on our September trip we were followed by work, worries and our everyday busyness UNTIL we got on a DREAM ship where we had already determined to go UNPLUGGED. Oh we had visited and laughed together, and at each other, in the 2 days prior but the phones were constantly in front of us or cradled next to our face…bless our hearts.
Is stepping away suppose to be this hard? For a US citizen…Yup. We are a ‘no man is an island’ society. We have networked so much that we constantly close a full day feeling that we have still left something out.
So we take vacations. We camp or fly around the world or drive to the nearest landmark destination. It is the act of going away. For this generation however we have digital services that have us locked-in wherever we try to run off to UNLESS we are intentional to vacate our availability to others like we did our house.
You know what happens when you shut the phone off? You make memories with the people you are with, you think about and dream about the ones you truly miss and if you are looking you can feel God in the uninterrupted stillness.
Well stepping away was easier for me than the sisters three.
1. It was easier because I don’t need cell service to connect with my spouse. He is abounding in our destination, dream-location with Jesus and I have a hot-line number there, smile. But the sister’s have husbands still on this side of eternity and staying connected with your spouse is always of the utmost importance. The truth is I always thought they should have brought their spouses but some men don’t like long drives with a bunch of women, some don’t like sun and sand and some don’t like boats. (Plus I think they were thinking it might make me miss Lenny more or that I would feel isolated but I carry Lenny with me wherever I go :o) however I appreciate their watchfulness over their brother’s wife.)
2. It was easier for me because I don’t have a job where I stand as anchor. All three of the sisters have a lot of responsibility that they had to set up in order to leave and then feel comfortable stepping away from. Lenny & I learned the importance of getting away in the ministry and it is a lesson of ‘release’ I am not likely to ever forget. Sweet times of togetherness, assessing priorities and knitting ourselves to one another and to the Lord.
3. It was easier for me to unplug because I have a head injury that plagues me still and I KNOW better than to try to have or make conversation if anybody else around me is wanting to visit or in the midst of having or engaging in life with someone else or online with someone else. “One voice at a time, please.” is my motto.
4. I excelled at unplugging because they let me do the driving to New Orleans and back therefore my hands and mind were on the task in front of me not what I was stepping away from or walking back to. (Is that cheating, I did have an advantage? LOL)
BUT we unplugged and those days of silence gave us beautiful moments as we visited about things that couldn’t be felt or shared with life’s continuous pings and interruptions.
Those days gave us opportunities to stir up the beauty of the shared past and of the life and men who held our hearts.
But more than anything else I believe shutting the world off can give you a new perspective on how you have chosen, and will choose, to spend your time.
In the quiet you can clearly see the people you can’t do without and what has become priority as you have raced through life’s crazy out-of-kilter demands and pressures.
In the quiet you can see what pieces of you life are non-negotiable.
What we can’t afford to lose.
Those things that had been compromised.
What we will not surrender.
I almost think that this was one more gift Lenny wanted to share with his wonderful sisters…
The gift of learning to unplug.
Because God is GREAT and Life is GOOD but you will miss it all if you don’t reel into your blessings and loose yourself from the busyness, cares and demands of this world.
Be intentional with your time and don’t neglect the simpleness of spending time with the one who holds your hand and heart.
Every day the sun is setting somewhere.
Every day someone heads home on their final journey.
Make sure you are left, or leave behind, a lot of wonderful memories, confident affection and quiet, beautiful moments that you, or they, can hold onto until you are once again reunited in Him with them.