Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


I'm here in a wee cabin by the lake at Kanuga Conference Center in the Western part of North Carolina where I am privileged to be a GOE (General Ordination Exam) reader.

The schedule is brutal but the conversation and companionship are wonderful and the work is intellectually stimulating and spiritually satisfying.

There are no televisions to be had. My smart phone, I've discovered, isn't so smart without a cell tower to link the AT&T signals to my phone. I can't call, text, IM, check my Facebook or email or other blogs or send the pictures I've taken.

The Wifi in the main lodge works fine but the connection here in my cottage is iffy at best. I've lost the signal on my laptop twice just typing this.

I am, for the most part, unplugged.

And, ya know what? It really ain't half bad. I mean, I'm not even annoyed. It's okay. Really.

There was life before technology.

There is life without technology.

I'm not even really sure I can claim that life is better with technology.

Oh, we're saving tons of forests (and money) by having everything available online and, when I'm near the main lodge, I can access it easily. And that is good.

However, I'm not sure that being plugged into the world for the greater part of my waking hours is as important as I once thought it was. I'm not entirely sure it is good for either my soul or my psyche.

Oh, I'd like the convenience of making a few phone calls, but mostly, I can live without the constant chatter of conversations through social media that I've grown so accustomed to being the "background noise" of my life.

On Monday night, we heard an absolutely stellar presentation from the Rev'd Dr. Patrick Malloy who is a GOE chaplain and a professor of liturgics at the General Seminary in Manhattan.

He talked about the Triduum - the three Holy Days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, The Great Vigil of Easter - which prepare us for Easter Day.

Beyond being three separate liturgies which are parts of a unified whole, they are celebrations of our history as well as the reality of the present. In other words, because of those historical events, we can celebrate the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
I always knew that, of course, but hearing it in a fresh, new way has sparked something in me that deeply resonates with my present circumstance of being 'unplugged'.

I think I spend so much time being connected to the present that I sometimes miss the miracle of the moment that is right in front of me.

It's ironic and paradoxical and it's true.

I think I'm realizing that being plugged in has become a false god of sorts - a jealous, demanding god who requires more attention than it probably deserves.

No, I'm not going to dump my smart phone and lap top in the lake. Neither am I going to stop using technology to assist me in my work.

I think what I'm trying to say is that, after I leave here, I'm going to try to be smarter about using technology, so that I don't allow it to use me.

I'm not going to be so much "unplugged" as I will try to be connected to things in a new and different way.

It's a pretty liberating thought, actually.

I'm going to take a walk now, before dinner, and listen to the Canada geese and ducks out by the pond. I'm going to plug into the sounds of Mother Nature and try to turn down the noise in my head just from reading the batch of almost 100 emails that were waiting for me to read when I finally plugged back into technology.

Who knows what new thing I'll see or hear or think while I'm unplugged from one information source and plugged into another?


it's margaret said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean. ---and, yes, it is good and holy to be unplugged!

Will J said...

"I'm going to try to be smarter about using technology, so that I don't allow it to use me. "

I'm thinking about this as a Lenten practice this year -- to fast from technology for a two continuous and uninterrupted hours each night and watch and listen. I'm not sure that I have the nerve or discipline to do this, which is probably all the greater reason that I should.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Margaret - Yes, with your new location, I'll bet you do.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Will J - It's going to become my Lenten discipline. Fer sure.