where I occasionally share about inspiration, songwriting, screenwriting and my faith journey…
The coffee is stiff this morning and I have a house to clean, so….do the math, folks — I may ramble for a bit. Remain close at your own risk… and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Lots of things on my mind, not the least of which is whether or not I can duplicate the most amazing batch of apple crisp like the one I made off the cuff last week. Wish me luck — this was a source of soreness on my part during Valentine’s week. Let me just say “all the best laid plans”?? Sometimes they crash and burn. Save for the apple crisp. And the socks the cats got for Papa for Valentine’s Day. Those both fared well.
But I digress…
The genesis of this — or perhaps not the genesis so much as the final nudge, the straw that broke the camel’s back, etc. — came the other night as we’re watching something on TV and this commercial came on and we actually watched said commercial (no, this was more recently than Super Bowl Sunday) and I seriously wanted to hurl something at the screen, I was so angry. Ready??
Well, let me back up…….. cuz there’s an in between bit to this story too.
On Saturday, my hubby and I drove down to Arkansas City to a place called Camp Horizon where we went for quite a hike — which I’ll elaborate on here in a few minutes — and as we wound (well, climbed — big rock steps, even a ladder, I shit you not — you climb up and across a ladder, then up more big rocks, and finally, a steep set of stairs) up back by the main bunk house and cabins, we made our way through, heading back to where we parked, as we passed a young man (the camp patrons for the weekend was a church youth group from somewhere in Oklahoma…) seated at a picnic table. Alone. Playing Solitaire — with actual cards, no less — and with an iPad within reach. We got out of earshot and I muttered something about “kinda missing the purpose of a weekend away in the woods, no?” Now I did feel kinda bad for the kid too. Like .. maybe he’s too afraid to make an effort to connect with his fellow camp mates. But come on — can’t one of the camp mates reach out to him? I know, I know — maybe they already tried and we missed seeing him flipping them off in favor of Solitaire, who knows…
Okay, flash forward to this commercial……… I’m pretty sure it was for DirecTV. We have DirecTV, but oh, my gosh, I still wanted to hurl obscenities. The commercial showed different ways in which users of the to-go app could use DirecTV when away from home. But the choices they showed were things like a couple taking a walk together … but both with eyes glued to their phone. Or a family camping trip, seated around a beautiful campfire … with eyes glued to iPads. No! No no no no no!!!!! For the love of God, if you must take your phone with you absolutely everywhere, leave it in your pocket. Just try it. The whole point of getting outside and enjoying Nature??? Is to be outside and enjoy Nature!!!! Not the TV!!! And, oh my goodness I can’t believe I even need to say this, but — if I’m going to watch a movie?? The last place on earth I want to do so is on a cell phone screen!!!!!!!! Come on….
Livid, I tell ya. Livid.
I stand firmly among those Kumbaya-singing idealists who would prefer — instead of feeling livid over dumb inventions like that app — enjoy feeling moved to tears and/or cheering for the commercials like the PSA-like #EATTOGETHER video I saw on Facebook this past week. If you’ve not seen this, take a look………
Maybe this makes me a fuddy duddy. Maybe I’m not “hip” or “technologically savvy” enough to exist at this moment in time. Hey, it’s not that I don’t embrace technology. I do. To a point. I love my iPhone. My iPod. My iTunes. Some apps. Not a ton — I’m at least 3 generations of iPhones behind and don’t have much space on mine, and honestly, I’d rather fill it with photos, even though I can’t even fit very many of those on it.
Recently, I cringed as a relatively new substitute teacher when I saw multiple students WRING OUT THERE WRISTS whilst writing — yes, by hand — a mere 20 sentences on some assignment they had that hour. Twenty lines. Short sentences. That doesn’t even fill a page of notebook paper!!!!! And their hands are tired?!?!?!?!?! You better believe I gave them a little ribbing for that. I understand — the bulk of their work is on-line. They do math on laptops, for heaven’s sake. What?!? This is today, and I’m a child of the 70’s & 80’s — we didn’t even have computers. I get it. I’m Old School. But here’s where my mind went: how on earth are you going to write letters to Grandma and Grandpa if you can’t hand-hand even half a page?!?!
Sorry, I’m digressing again.
Here’s a simple fact for me, which I realized Saturday and which I’m not too embarrassed to share here: I considered texting our friend Jessica with a few photos while we were out on our hike at Camp Horizon, but my heart actually leapt with glee when I saw these words on my cell phone: NO SERVICE
Praise the Lord!! We’re at a church camp, basically, and we are OFF THE GRID!!!! Whatever “connectivity” we have for the day — it’s with each other, it’s with Mother Nature, it’s with the Big Guy.
Patrick often talks about needing those wonderful sweatpants-and-DVR-queue days of “recharging his batteries” after a long week of work. And I grant him those.
But, we found an even better way: plugging into a different sort of charging station! Getting outside. Fresh air. Sunshine. I lost count of how many times he said to me: “We don’t need no stinkin’ ellipticals!!” Damn straight, husband! Mother Nature provided plenty of natural workout terrain!! Let me tell ya: we had a bit of everything out there: rocky, root-infested trail in the woods, prairie grass-like wide open trail, we went off-trail down a steep embankment to a creek bed and maneuvered our way along those rocks and over those logs and up and over an old rail bed and down another hill and hopped across water to a sandbar and plodded along said sandbar and then, from sandbar, we had to navigate the laid-down tallgrass en route to the woods, and in the woods — where we even used the wonderful old standby of playing Marco Polo to reconnect with each other — it was a mission of overs and unders to make our way back to an actual trail, and from there, a little climb to find a road, and more climbing to go “up” rather than around…..
But those few hours of NO SERVICE connectivity with Mother Nature (and with each other) and that navigating some challenging terrain — so worth it.
When we finally left Camp Horizon, we gallivanted around on back-county roads, with the stereo cranked, sometimes singing quite loud…. like to one of our fave songs to sing years ago at the church we went to…..
Crazy……I really haven’t felt “connected” recently…. and, I admit, like it’s always been, the trouble isn’t on the Big Guy’s end, it’s on mine. I don’t always do MY part to tap into Him.
I haven’t had much in the way of conversations like I once did. I haven’t posed many questions, or laid many troubles out for his attention, and Lord knows, my ability to pray in any sort of conventional way? It’s never really existed like it does for so many others. I have chats. I peek upward and say Thank You for a gorgeous day. I sing. I’m comfortable with those ways. And even those have been in short supply. I know it. I recognize it. I admit it. I can’t explain it. I don’t fully understand the meaning of it — the WHYs at my end, I mean.
But here’s the thing: I got to praise him with my feet upon the sand this weekend. I got to celebrate the opportunity to Be Out In It — His Beauty — with my favorite person on earth. I got to climb a hill and hug a cross. And I got to sing and worship and exclaim apology and acknowledgement…….. and in so doing — through any and all of the above ways — I was reminded: doesn’t matter how unplugged I may find myself sometimes. He’s still got me. There are no dead zones, nothing off His grid and, without a doubt, NO SERVICE doesn’t mean to to the Big Guy what it means to cell phones…
The opportunity for connectivity is everywhere and it’s 24/7.