Last weekend I watched my daughter run at full speed and jump off of a dock into a lake. Over and over again.
I watched my son figure out how to turn a kayak into a paddle board and catch the biggest fish of his life.
I watched younger kiddos splash and play while I got to have meaningful conversations with their mamas.
I watched the sheer joy on faces after biting into a s’more filled with their version of the perfectly roasted marshmallow (Do you like yours golden or burned? There was great debate over this!)
I watched as my husband quietly served our community and displayed the very heart of leadership.
I watched beautiful sunsets where the light hit the water in such a way that it looked like the entire lake was covered in glistening diamonds.
And I watched it all while my phone sat in my purse in our tent.
I watched it all without the option to post it on Facebook even if I wanted to since there was no wifi.
I just watched it. Savored it. Allowed it to create an imprint on my mind and my spirit that will last much longer than any update on social media.
And I realized that my soul was being filled with something I don’t think I even fully realized it needed.
It needed to be both disconnected and connected at the same time.
Disconnected from the online world and connected to the REAL world.
Now, let me be clear, I’m not someone who is totally addicted to screens. But, my job requires me to be connected to them. I stare at a screen as I write our second book. I stare at a screen as I write blog posts. I stare at a screen as I share on social media and as I lead our online book club.
So, since the screens in my life can’t really go away from me, I have to go away from them.
And there was something so glorious, so much more ‘normal’ about just sitting at the end of the dock with the love of my life as we watched our children kayak around the lake and not feeling any desire to commemorate the moment by putting it on Instagram.
Sometimes I think we fall into the trap of thinking that if we don’t share our activities with the world then it’s like they aren’t really real, or that they didn’t actually happen.
But, the truth is that the most real-ness we can experience is simply being fully in the moment. Taking a mental photograph and tucking it away in your memories, knowing you can pull it out at any time, not just when Facebook decides you need to be reminded of it.
Our time at the lake provided me with such a glorious escape that when we arrived back home, I almost didn’t know how to re-enter the online world. And I kinda didn’t want to.
There were so many life-giving, soul-buffering, heart-filling moments that I needed a bit of time to process it all before I could bring myself to stare at a screen again.
I realized that I need to stop feeling guilty for stepping away from it all (blogging, writing, social media-ing) from time to time. I realized that without the time at the lake last weekend, I may have sunk further into the weariness my spirit has been feeling lately.
I’ve determined that maybe we all need to get back to that time when we didn’t feel like we had to tell everyone every single thing we did during every single moment of the day. That there is something sweet and sacred about knowing that only those girls who floated on the rafts with me in the middle of the lake will remember the hilarity of that moment because no one took any photos and no one posted about it on social media. We are forever bonded together by that experience and we don’t need to prove it by sharing it with everyone.
The lessons I learned last weekend at the lake are ones I’m going to hold as closely to my heart as the memories that were made.
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou
Thank you so much for meeting me at the fence today dear friends,
P.S. The photos included in this post are stock photos. See! I really didn’t get any pictures of our time at the lake! 😉
Sharon Warren says
So glad you posted this on your blog. What a refreshing change from so many other’s posts that grind on and on about the tiniest details that aren’t important. May that time be brought back to your memory as you return to the daily life you have been given, refresh your weary spirit, and prompt you to enjoy every moment whether you document it or not.
Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours says
Good for you, Vanessa! There really is nothing like looking back on experiences shared with friends — real friends, not “social” friends — and remembering the tiniest details. I’m glad your family got away and made some new memories together. Treasure these days, my friend!
Sounds perfect! Savouring every moment…and your photographs of those moments are so serene. I love what you’ve shared here today Vanessa!
All my heart,
Thank you for such a refreshing outlook on getting away from social media! I grew up in a time when there were no cell phones or any kind of social media so I don’t have a problem walking from it. My daughter has even commented on me leaving my phone in another room while we are visiting. I so enjoy reading your blog! Excited to read yawl are working on another book!
I hardly ever use my cell phone as have it for emergency only. Just not a talk on the phone type of person.