Last week as you may have seen in the last Pascal’s Pulse, Julie and I headed down to southeast Minnesota to do some camping. For 29 years we have been going down to the Lanesboro area every summer to disconnect and relax in what I consider to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. It always amazes me that when we get south of Interstate 90 and get close to Chatfield I can feel myself relax and my demeanor changing. In the Gospels, we hear many times that Jesus went off by himself, typically for a night.
“After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone.” Mt 14:23
“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” Mk 1:35
“In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.” Lk 6:12
The older I get the more I appreciate the value of disconnecting. When we are able to leave behind the busyness of or daily routine it opens our minds to be in conversation with God. One of the frustrations of the campground we go to is that there is very poor cell phone connectivity, but that is one of the benefits of the campground also. Knowing that I cannot jump on the internet easily makes me spend more time being in the present with the experience.
There are many ways to disconnect and some people are naturally able to do it in their house during a time of prayer. It helps to have an area that is your “disconnect” spot in your house that allows you to relax and not be tempted to “do something”. During this summer of discord, I have found bike riding to be a wonderful way for me to disconnect. While riding I find that I am only thinking about riding and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. Taking my camera with me helps me focus on enjoying the scenery and looking for good picture taking opportunities. Amazingly, by focusing on biking and seeing the beauty around me there are many thoughts and feelings of closeness to God. Many of my blog posts come into greater clarity during these rides as do solutions to problems and concerns. Through the process of disconnecting our subconscious is able to work and develop solutions without being encumbered by the noise of everyday life. Some would call this coincidence, but I would call it giving the Holy Spirit room to bring us new insight.
Like prayer, disconnecting is a very individualistic thing. What works for one person will not work for another. The important ingredient is that you make an effort to disconnect every once in a while. By this point, you may be wondering how is disconnecting different from prayer? As we mature in our prayer life we start to realize disconnecting is part of the prayer process and our ability to disconnect will become easier and easier.
What makes for good disconnection?
Something that you really enjoy. What are those activities that you can do for hours and it only seems like minutes have gone by? What are you drawn to?
Something that brings you closer to God's creation and joins you to God’s creative energy.
Something that allows your subconscious to work and give room for the Holy Spirit to inspire.
As a confession, I had planned on writing this blog post while camping but I figured that would really be a contradiction. Sometimes we really need to just “let go” and simply enjoy being!!!
In closing here is a nice shot of a sunset at the campground we love (Eagle Cliff Campground in Whalen MN)
Peace, blessings, prayers