We just returned from a week without screens. Our family traveled to a YMCA camp in Estes Park, Colorado without phones, kindles, ipads, televisions, and music. We disconnected social media, email, news and trusted that life would go on without us. We left emergency numbers with those who could find us, and we had the best time together in a very long time. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary… as if it was 1995. Wow, what a feeling. I could not have made a trip like this without Kelly’s organization, initiative, and planning. We could not have gotten away in this manner without our church staff. I’m so grateful to our staff for covering the bases around here and giving me permission to stay away—and off the grid.
We filled our time with food, hiking, horses, books, magazines, river rafting, fishing, volleyball, ice cream, and lots of putt putt. Drake is officially proficient in goofy golf. Mainly, we laughed, talked, played, and rested. We shared sabbath together.
I’d like to tell you that we have re-emerged with all sorts of new ways of living. We don’t live in 1995 any longer, and neither does anyone else. But we have learned a few things that I’d like to share with you.
- We don’t need our devices nearly as much as we think we do. The modern world fills the empty spaces of life by being constantly on. Turning the world off is a good thing.
- Life is better when you’re fully present one person at a time. By staying constantly connected to other things, we’re never fully there with the people around us.
- “Jungle Speed” is a fun card game. Trust me. Buy it. Play it.
- When you’re not connected to your device, other people who are constantly looking at their phones look very silly. Since we’ve been in the habit of taking phones to the supper table, in Colorado, it was easy to spot people who were gazing into something else. I can get pretty self-righteous quickly. It takes a trip miles away to see yourself better.
- “Mater” is not just a cartoon character in the Disney movie “Cars.” He’s also a river rafting guide in Colorado named Scott, and he’s a lot of fun.
- Many people live disconnected lives because they don’t have access or ability to use these services. To disconnect means to draw closer to those on the other side of a digital divide they will never cross. Many of these people are poor, and they likely do not get to go on vacations to places like Estes Park. If they’re in Colorado, they’re waiting tables or cleaning rooms at the YMCA where we stayed. For that, we are grateful and blessed and reminded that with such great blessings come responsibilities as well to the “least of these” and to those who do not communicate through technology.
- It’s good to be home. We loved Colorado; we also love Tallahassee. I’m grateful to be a part of all the God is doing here at First Baptist. Let’s reach people for Jesus and begin with the person in front of the device—not the screen in front of us.