The boat has been moving for a couple of hours now as we work our way back from our fortress of solitude to return to reality. As was the case last time I can’t help but feel a sense of impending loss. On the boat we’re now surrounded by more people than I’ve seen in one place before we left. The sensation of solitude is already fleeting, though I can still grasp at it when I stare out the window along the distant horizon of a seemingly endless Lake Superior.
For almost a week I’ve been out of touch with my normal reality. I’m sure there are a pile of emails, voicemails, and texts to get through when I get back. There has been no mention of news or current sports and no podcast updates. I’ve been very disconnected… and I’ve loved every ecstatic moment of it.
Something funny hit me a couple of nights ago. After typing my blog I was about to put my camera & blogging device (aka phone) down and without thinking about it my thumb mindlessly went to my email icon. Subconsciously I’ve built a habit of checking my mail when I have a down moment. That was my default action, how sad! When I had a moment of space my initial reaction was to fill it with email. As soon as I realized what I’d done I opted to take action. In a heartbeat I was moving my email icon from the bottom and static row to a random spot on a random screen. If I want to check it I’ll have to consciously find it to check it.
One of the key takeaways from this trip will be the reminder to completely unplug occasionally to create space for myself. Like Dominic and I talked about yesterday there is a deep state of peace to be found there. That said, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows, there are times when I come face to face with my own ugliness. While there is a joy in the simplicity of being unplugged it is just as much a time to pause and reflect on the gap between who I am and who I am called to be. Seeing that chasm can be humbling, daunting, and wildly uncomfortable. That said, in a world of constant connectedness and busyness it is so easy to not let my eyes actually look directly at it. In a state of simple disconnectedness there is nowhere else to look and it must be dealt with.
I remember a sermon from Father Mark way back in the day talking about escaping to the desert to repent, to get outside ourselves. That same sermon was the first time I heard the quote from Pascal about all the troubles of the world being caused by man’s inability to sit alone in a room with his own thoughts. I’ll look that one up when I get home, I feel as if I will now “get it” at a very different depth than I have in the past.
One of the hallmarks of this trip has been the constant state of disconnectedness. Deeply soothing and joyful at times, raw, humbling, and difficult at other times. Throughout all of those moments one constant remained…. profound growth.