Unplugged & Plugged In

Ah, finally the camping season is through as we return to the regularly scheduled September of labor and learning. I chuckled greatly when I move to Venango County for so many of you camp throughout the summer… Some live in the woods but have a desire to go down the street to a campground. People can burn in their backyards and yet still want to enjoy a campfire somewhere else. And when many of us camp, we prefer a state-of-the-art camper with home essentials, including the kitchen sink! We even send our children to camps with high tech gadgetry, nice dorms with hot and cold running water. Remember the days when your parents or grandparents took you out camping… in a tent?
Camping without the comforts makes us more thankful for the gadgets. It is more difficult to be impatient with a microwave after meals over the campfire. God realized we needed this break. He even made a mandatory camping holiday called the Festival of Tents which begins next week!
After the Israelites were to enter the Promised Land (to live in comfortable houses and to farm fields-of-plenty) they were to go out annually to their backyard, pitch a tent for a few days, and remember how God provided in the desert. Maybe we need the same.
Live simply for a couple days. Talk with our family without an electronic device between us. Look into each other’s eyes and sit with them rather than reply to their posts. Live together for a few moments with the real treasures of our life; our spouse, our children (not our stuff).
I think this is a much needed (and overlooked) holiday for we are overloaded on all circuits. We need an tech timeout occasionally. However, we are so afraid of what we will miss, rather than what we might gain. When given the opportunity we carry it all with us in our fully-equipped wifi Winnebago! Get unplugged, unwind, take a vacation from all the stuff. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, it will annoying and difficult. It may not bring you serenity as your labor might intensify. But, it will bring appreciation for the ease of life God has given. It will nurture our soul to have a long conversation with friends and family rather than a 140 character quip. The “less” reminds us to be grateful for our “more.”
So, my family is going tenting in the backyard for a couple days. Next week we will eat our meals outside our house and have a few “unplugged” hours. Yup, I will leave the cellphone inside, gulp! We will stare at the house God has granted us filled with all its ease and remember how blessed we are. We will have conversations, share books and enjoy time together. We will plug into each other, the real treasures of this life. Will you join us? …In tents? I hear its intense!

[By the way, I wrote this on my iPad while on vacation with my family and a district conference where I was constantly in search of wifi! I couldn’t even take a vacation without constantly checking my IMs. I know I need to take my own advice!]

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