Unplugging, yet Recharging…

I’m going to tell you honestly, I am getting and not-getting exactly what I expected out of this Africa experience.

Some moments have been fantastic, Kenya was certainly a high.  I felt fully satisfied and at peace and at ease and where I needed to be, doing what I needed to do.  But other days, evenings and weekends really, have been close to awful with loneliness.

I have been invited to one other person’s house, besides my small bible study group’s.  And I kind of made that invitation happen.

So here I am experiencing what I tried to explain to CK one terrible night months ago.  He didn’t get it at all, didn’t even really want to hear it.

It’s the worst I imagined I’d experience, except I’m not experiencing it in Cape Town and I don’t have a bike.  (So goes imagining best and worsts, you can never get every detail right.)

Don’t get me wrong, work is fine-I have 40 full hours a week and then I go to church Sunday mornings and small group Thursday nights-but nothing much happens the rest of my approximately 82 hours.  I see movies every now and then, I look for free local events, I cook/bake lots and lots of food, and I watch tv all the time.

And I am at this point of loneliness/silence where there has to be change.  But I can’t just fill my times with only service, volunteering, hanging out with co-workers kids (which I did last night to my delight: talk about building forts, making giant brownie sundaes, and eating homemade pizza!). 

I can’t just busy myself with others and stuff me and God out of it.  I did something similar to that during my junior year of college and it didn’t end too well.

So I find I have to use the silence/alone time/rest to grow.  Grow in God, grow in myself, grow in service.

All that being said, I have unplugged the tv for one week.

I only have one unread book in the house, more will be gathered.  I will get out more.  I will read my bible more.  I will talk to God, I mean really really talk-not just think good thoughts up towards his direction.  I will call Pastor Willie.  I will cook/bake for someone.  I will go to a farmer’s market this weekend.  I will delve into what this free time means.

I will listen to good music.  I may still go see/rent a movie-but I won’t put the television on just for sound or entertainment only for one week. 

I might draw pictures.  I might write poetry.  I might send you an e-mail or a letter or a postcard.  I will mail my sister’s birthday present.

And if you would like, I will tell/ask/share some of the things I have already been challenged with in the Bible recently.  I would love people to share with/to break it down with/to delve into-if you’re interested-comment back at me!

Ask me how it goes as the week goes on, I haven’t gone this long without tv since…I don’t even know.  Maybe never?  7 days.  I’m in.  You?

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2 Responses to “Unplugging, yet Recharging…”

  1. the loneliest period of my life was my first 8 months in africa. there is something about being so far away from familiarity….

    i remember reading voraciously, sleeping and shivering more than a person should, and wondering why exactly god took me to a place where i felt so alone. i loved south africa. i loved the work with the children. i loved teaching and preaching and all that stuff. but in the quiet moments, i felt very unsatisfied.

    i wonder now if god didn’t take me through that in order to show me just how small i am and just how insignificant my work and life can be. i gained a new respect for the soveriegnty of god and a new appreciation for the role he plays as our only hope, our only source, and our only provision of fullness. no amount of time-filling, well-intentioned as it may be, will satisfy. he alone. perfect in and of himself, needing nothing. he alone is the well at which we can be satiated.

    i will pray for you and your loneliness. may he teach you beautiful things through it. and may it last as long as it needs to, so that one day you will look back and be thankful for it.

    (ps – pastor willie loves to chat. and he loves to eat and go out for coffee. if you call and you would just like a fatherly ear to chew on, tell him you know me and invite him out for lunch. sometimes, our loneliness simply requires that another human acknowledge the reality of our existence.)

  2. I can really relate to the loneliness you are going through.

    I think you are making the right choice for you and I think unplugging the TV is a great idea. I’ve done it for periods at a time before. I don’t believe I’ve ever done it for a week, though.

    I knew someone a long time ago when I first became a Christian who took Jesus’ words to his disciples in the Garden seriously: “Could you not keep awake even one hour?” (Maureen’s paraphrase) Once a week he used to come home from work, shower, shave, change his clothes, and sit and wait for one hour. Just wait to see what and how God would talk with him.

    I was never able to do that same exact thing for an hour, but I took that example and adapted it to myself and my life. I was never disappointed, and I always was refreshed and renewed and my love for God was also renewed.

    Keep us posted, as I know you will! God bless!!

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