It has been quite some time now since I have written. I have been busy living my life as life used to be before technology. I have stayed off facebook and while I had a definite withdrawal going on at first, I eventually broke the habit of feeling the need to be on site every single day, several times a day. It was amazing how much of my life was freed up! I stopped writing too. That part was not part of the plan, but for some unknown reason, I developed writers block. The old familiar yearning to put my thoughts down onto paper just wasn’t there. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to write durng my little Reprieve from modern life.
I filled some of my time working on a satisfying improvement project In our kitchen which included the cabinets, counters and floor. I had the pleasure of working with an incredibly talented carpenter. I was so impressed with his work, I told him he would even impress Jesus (the carpenter) with his skills. During this time we also painted…(walls not canvas’s) lightening up our surroundings a bit. (I must admit I am beginning to feel an interest developing for that other kind of painting too.)
I have spent much more time with my husband and in the process, realized yet again, how fortunate it was that our paths crossed so many years ago! I also had the time now to see my friends more, one on one, and face to face. I enjoyed time doing girl stuff with my daughter. Little did I know what a wonderful lifelong friend she would grow up to be. It has been nice!
My abandonment of technolgy and writing has lasted almost 4 months and I have found myself living more fully As a result. Just before I took a vacation from my facebook account, I politely explained to my fb friends about my need to take time off to break the social media habit. When I did, many of my fb friends came forward to say they would miss me, so I gave out my email address as a way for them to get in touch should they desire to do so. In the time I have been gone, there have been a scant few emails…very few and I was touched to get them.
As time went on, this separation brought to mind the funeral of a friend who had died a sudden death at a relatively young age. After the funeral, we all went out to the cemetary for the final goodbye and as we stood there listening to the Minister reading out of the bible, I heard an airplane flying overhead. I looked up to see that big silver bird in the sky and thought about all those people flying off to various destinations for business or pleasure, unaware that yet another life had ceased to be. I saw cars driving down the highway and bikers biking down the road. I could see a couple of people visiting casually by a gravesite not very far away. A baby was crying and a Mother was rocking and soothing her little baby. All around us, life was presenting itself in its usual busy way, while the life force of this woman in the casket had ceased to exist. Only her closest loved ones noticed and grieved her absence. Life goes on!
A long time ago, my Mother and I were talking about the part of ourselves we call self.. We were not speaking of the egotistical side of self importance, but rather the way we all want to “matter” in this world. We agreed that if we really understood how well people can get on without us, we might live differently. (Naturally the exception to this is with our immediate loving family.)
She said to me, “The way I see things is this way…we simply are not as important to the scheme of things as we would like to think we are. This doesn’t mean we are of no importance. We certainly do matter a great deal to some people.. But, I wish I had known earlier in my life that I could have lived with less restraint. I would not have spent so much time being concerned about what others thought of me, because in all truth, other than family, people really don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about me at all. I think this is true for everyone. Whenever I think “I must do this or I must do that”, because of the need to please and because of a fear that something in life can’t go on without me, I make myself visualize a pail of water. If I put my hand down into a pail of water and then pull it right back out, I can look for the impression my hand left behind, and to my neverending surprise, there is no evidence of my hand having been dipped in the pail. There is no impression left behind! So it is with most of us.”
(Come to find out, so it is with me!) 😏
It was not her intent to minimize anyones value in this world to God OR to our loved ones. She simply meant to say that we should live our life with less fear of another persons opinion and with more appreciation for each new day we have been given. It shouldn’t matter what others think about what we do. Life is a gift and it is best spent with a deep awareness of the value of this blessing while following our inner spiritual voice. We don’t get a second go around! This is it! So we must live every day as fully and freely as we possibly can. This can mean something as ridiculously simple as being aware and grateful for our lifes breath, coming in and going out, and the miracle of that physical act! Inhale! Exhale!
So, upon leaving social media, I decided to give intentional living a whirl! We quit our television provider and went back to an antennae…a little flat screen that you set in your window which draws the three basic channels, 3 PBS channels, Fox, and MSNBC. We also get some random channels, Netflix and Amazon Prime, so there are plenty of viewing choices. We are much happier with less choices and no longer feel the former angst created by the news channels, all spewing bad news and MORE bad news. (“Good news doesn’t sell papers honey” (or commercials).)
We don’t spend a lot of time passively and numbly watching the big screen in our bookcase. We have learned to use our mute button and enjoy using the off button on our television as well. Old timey radio is our new thing, both music and stories. We also read books…..good books…the kind that make you sigh when you put them down because you are sad to be saying goodbye to the characters in the book who have become your friends.
We spent time sitting in the giant hammock chair swing we had installed a few years back for our granddaughters enjoyment when they come to visit. Our inner child came forward as we pushed our feet into the dirt to move the swing to and fro and at times in circles, depending on its sway. We would lean all the way back and look up to the sky and enjoy the beauty of the huge old oak tree branches gently swaying, at the same time we were swaying beneath a very blue Texas sky. “One with nature” came to mind as we did.
We talked to our garden as we watered it, pretending we were having our morning coffee with a friend. Heck! We WERE having our morning coffee with a friend, as we communed with our beautiful floral garden companions.
In this time off of social media I rediscovered a new “old” kind of peace in my life by revisiting the ways of my youth. I grew up in an area where we had to make our own good time. We were not passive receivers of the pleasures of life, rather, we were actively involved in LIVING our life. We had the gift of time, lots and lots of time to discover who we really were and we communed with the heaven sent spiritual side of ourselves as we wandered through our days.
Yes, I became familiar with that other part of me, which together with my human side makes me whole!
A long time ago, my husband made a comment to me that has stayed with me all these many years. He said he thought the definition of the Devil should be “busy”. He certainly got my attention with this so I asked him why he thought that way. He said, “Well, if you stay busy all the time, you will have no time to “Be Still and know I am God” as we have read in the Bible. God asks us to be still so we can know Him!”
He was right about this in so many ways. His statement had a profound impact on me. When one thinks about it, if we are continuously busy, it makes it difficult to bond with our family or connect with our neighbor. If we are busy, we won’t have the time to spend with our children or a lonely family member who may be missing our presence in their life. If we are busy we won’t see the beauty that surrounds us, nor smell the perfume emitted from the flowers and trees, nor will we hear the sounds of nature, all a part of Gods creation. Do you remember the whipporwhills of our youth? The frogs in the distant ponds? The buzzing sounds of bees as we watched them flit from flower to flower? Do we hear them now? Do you take the time?
If our family schedules are full and busy, we will all have to eat at separate times or in our car as we are racing off to an event, rather than all gathered together around our table. If we are busy, we won’t have time for a snuggle or a hug or nice long back scratch, all of which are emotionally, spiritually and physically healing because we crave the caring human touch. These days, peoples lives are so busy they get angry at other drivers on the road because time is ticking ever faster and we are worried we will be late! I don’t thnk the phrase “Road Rage” existed in my youth. We have wrongly come to believe that a full life is a busy life. Busy, busy, busy. No time to call and talk, guess we’ll text, but we are too busy to answer that text. Huff! Puff! The earth sometimes feels like it is spinning so fast on its axis that we want to find the stop button so we can get off.
Getting off of that fast track is a bit unnerving because we are afraid we won’t know what to do with ourself once we stop the insanity. With some of us, we either never learned or perhaps have forgotton how to spend time alone….quietly….observing…..listening…..BEING. God did not make a human “doing”…he made a Human Being, and I, for one, quite like the whole idea of “being”. Instead of “do it” all the time, sometimes I want to BE.
I was lucky. I grew up in an era and area of no excess. We didn’t have excess anything. We didn’t have excess food, clothes, toys, or activities. We did not have an excess of friends. We did have one thing in abundant supply and that was time. This time allowed us to think and imagine and dream and BE! My husband grew up on a farm and had a similar background to mine where each day was not planned with the exception of farm chores. The day unfolded.
So, if you ask me what I have been doing these last four months and If I reply “Nothing much”, don’t underestimate those two words. We have gone out to lunch and dinner a few times. We have sat in dark movie theaters enjoying the latest movie. We have gone for long drives into the beautiful Texas countryside. Most of our activities were not planned. We let our days unfold like the days of our youth.
I have reaquainted myself with me! I have relearned the art of living as a human BEING, versus a human doing! I SEE the roses! I SMELL the roses and I can HEAR the bees buzzing around the roses! I became rich during my reprieve….I took the time to acknowledge the wealth of Gods creation that surrounds me and understand it as one of His greatest gifts and most beautiful blessings.
I thank Him for it.
I understand That I may not have been missed during my absence…..and that is o.k.! I almost forgot about social media too! 😇
Now I am back, but in a much, much reduced way. I plan to write again and enjoy the catharsis of letting the words come out, if for no other reason than my own enjoyment. I realize that if I spend a lot of time reading about other peoples lives, I won’t have time to live my own, therefore, I am embracing the idea that with the time I have left, I should enjoy going where the spirit leads me and remembering that life is about the journey!