This year we slowed down a bit. Passed on some activities that the children were involved in. The last couple of weeks, I’ve mostly unplugged from facebook and other online media (although I do sneak back on using my kindle from time to time, just to see what people are up to). We’ve also limited TV, to mostly just a family TV show we watch together in the evening
What have I found since I’ve become less “involved”:
- A deeper contentment with my life and my parenting decisions. I have a really good life, surrounded by mountains and farms, wanting for nothing. My children have food to eat, a roof over their heads, clothing, and a decent education. They have parents who love them and are able to spend time with them. They have an advantage to most of the world’s population, even if we endeavor to live simply and they don’t get a lot of “extras”.
- Peace about the future. When I spend more time looking in the mirror of God’s eternal word than the mirror of popular opinion, my faith grows and my insecurity shrinks. We are in the midst of another “storm” concerning Shane’s work at the post office. From a natural perspective, things haven’t looked good. When I see the riches of the blessings that surround us, I cannot help but know that I am lead even through the valleys by a shepherd who is tender and kind. I don’t know what the future holds, “but I know who holds the future”.
- Determination to do the good I can. Sometimes the onslaught of images is daunting. Drowned refugees. Tragic terrorist attacks. Shootings. Natural disasters. It is so easy to sink in to despair, to become numb and do nothing. Unplugging from media allows me to plug into the life and the world around me. There is a good I can do. A difference I can make in my own community. People that I can reach. I am becoming excited at the prospect of putting together this year’s “Summer Reading Club”, rather than just overwhelmed. I am becoming more open and curious about opportunities to meet needs in my community.
I wonder at that. Connectivity can be a very good thing. Right now, the kids are immensely enjoying a chemistry course we found online, and I don’t know what I’d do without google. There are several blogs I read that encourage and challenge me. Sometimes, though, I wonder if the onslaught of information is too much for our finite brains to process. If having access to so many voices and lifestyles and opinions isn’t paralyzing as we try to wade through and decide what is “right”. (Not that I think we should cut ourselves off from those who we don’t agree with, but perhaps books are a better media for exploring the lives and beliefs of others. Like maybe longform gives us more time to absorb, dig deeper, weigh and contemplate, develop true empathy-wheras blurbs and bits we get on Buzzfeed and facebook elicit an immediate emotional response, but then we bounce from emotional response to emotional response and never really understand.)
Since we slowed down a little, we’ve completed projects that seemed would never get done–our oft neglected bedroom was one of them. The house is cleaner. The animal’s pens sturdier. The dog is calmer. We’re enjoying better fellowship with our children. We’ve found the opportunity to lift up our eyes…and realize that we dwell in a good land and enjoy safe pastures.