Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! (Psalm 34:8 ESV)
I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. (Anne Lamott)
I think there is a difference between practicing minimalism and self-imposed deprivation. I don’t know about you, but somewhere in my mixed up ideas about good living, I think depriving myself of certain pleasures will make me a better person. As I prepared for our trip, I started thinking that I shouldn’t take too much stuff. So, I adopted a minimalist approach to packing, but that approach devolved quickly into frustration. I thrive in an atmosphere of variety and options.
Yes, we have limited space on our boat, but I didn’t have to leave home my favorite art supplies, because I might not use them. And I didn’t have to overlook my comfy warm socks, just because it might not get that cold. And I didn’t need to pass over the nature photography book, just because I might not read it cover to cover. I packed the art supplies, the clothes and the books, which I wanted, and that was good.
On vacation, I often long for a simpler life. A life where laptops, iPads and smart phones were not necessities. I left the laptop and iPad at home, but brought the smart phone, and a vintage tape recorder that I thought would be fun. I planned to send out postcards instead of emails, and minimize the amount of texting. And I proclaimed on Facebook that I was unplugging and going off grid.
But as the trip unfolded, I found myself posting highlights of our adventure. I remembered how much I loved sharing the journey with others. And how easy it was to use my camera on the phone. And so, in an ironic twist, I found myself daily posting photos and little vignettes on Facebook. And some of my favorite dialogues during the trip came from texts received from people back home, and we even connected with a friend we hadn’t seen for several years. We had a nice reunion in a park near St. Paul, at the end of our trip. (If I had deprived myself of Facebook, some of these joys would have slipped by, unrealized.) Sure, unplugging can be a great way to unwind and relax, but it really wasn’t what I needed. I needed connection, but just in lower doses.
So what about you, what do you need currently in your daily life? How does deprivation help or hinder you? How could embracing an adventurous spirit change your daily perspective?
Some of the photos posted on our first day traveling from St. Louis to Owatonna, MN:
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