"But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places to pray."
. . .
Lent is coming, and I have been dreading it. I've been diving into the questions so often and so deeply these days that I forget to come up for air. For the past few weeks I've just felt tired -- of people, of religion, of God. Over it, angry at it, and yet still in hot pursuit of.... Well, something.
When I first lived in Germany (over a decade ago now) I'd spend two or three hours almost every day walking in the woods near our apartment, just thinking and noticing and being. Sometimes I'd stroll into town, maybe stop by a shop or the library at the German-American Institute, or I might walk near the water. Once in a while I'd bring a pen and my journal; usually I wouldn't bring anything at all. I didn't own a cell phone, there was no such thing as Facebook, and I checked my email once a week (and on dial-up internet at that -- I'd walk the cord from the phone jack at the front of the house, down the hall, to my room at the end, and connect it to the computer).
Lately I've been finding myself not only really missing that time, but also feeling sort of, I dunno.... assaulted by all the noise online. All these thoughts and images and ideas and opinions and articles and and and and AGGHHHH!
I need to turn it off.
I need to get quiet, really really quiet, and listen. To the sound of silence, and hopefully, eventually, to the still small voice I know is there, just waiting. Ready.
Growing up, our family always gave up TV for Lent, and Andy and I have honored this tradition the past few years. However, since cutting cable last year, we just don't watch that much anymore, and when we do, it's usually pretty intentional (not to mention commercial-free). Yet the ruckus and racket and TOO MUCHNESS feels more overwhelming then ever, and I believe it's coming in large part from the computer. So I'm going for it, I'm doing it: I'm giving up the internet for Lent.
I mean, pretty much.
Here's the game plan:
NO (and I mean absolutely NO)
- Blogs (especially reading)
- Email (twice a day, morning and evening)
- Searches (one thing at a time, and only with a set intention. Think: Mapping directions or booking airfare)
- Podcasts (again, intentional is key)
I'll continue to use my online meal planner, and I may watch a show here and there. The point, for me, is to be clear about why I'm going online each time I do it, and to detox from social media and the general barrage of information that comes from mindlessly following links. I'd like to tune out other peoples' ideas for awhile and see what arises internally, in the space between each breath, in this "season of discernment." And I trust that God will meet me there.
See you on the other side. And maybe bring some water, eh? x
Images from the Liwa Desert, June 2012, taken by my friend Maria Clary. More desert reflections here, from our days in the actual desert.