It is time for re-entry to reality. I have been off-line for over a week and only now do I realize how “connected” I usually am.
For many years, during our summer boating trips, we were out of touch in a way that today’s youth can’t imagine. When we sailed from California to Hawaii one of our friends and crew was a ham radio operator. Every few days he would hail some radio pal, who then, as a courtesy, phoned our parents to tell them that we were fine. Aside from that sporadic crackly contact we spent twenty-two days isolated from the world on our sailing boat in a small world of our own.
Even during our trips along the British Columbia coast, we were often incredibly isolated. My husband vividly remembers taking the dinghy ashore to call his parents from the phone booth on a dock on Quadra Island, BC. When his father asked him what he thought of the war, his response was, “What war?” (The first Iraq War had broken out a few days earlier.)
That is no longer the case. When we nowadays boat in British Columbia as we love to do, we have cell phones that are almost always within reach of a signal. We often also enjoy WiFi availability courtesy of a harbor (harbour) at which we are docked. By using a hot spot, we can even be online while at anchor. This is a gift for us, as being able to work for a few hours a day allows us to get away more often. However, until this past week, I hadn’t realized how much information is continually bombarding us.
Even though I turn off for 25 hours each week for Shabbat and occasional holy days can add another 48 hours to that tally a few times a year, the expectation of hearing things almost instantaneously has become my norm. This past week, sailing the Caribbean in a small boat as guests of our son and daughter-in-law was a throwback to earlier years. I had no WiFi connection, though the magic of What’s App allowed me to stay in touch with our family chat.
We sailed. We swam. We snorkeled. We enjoyed the magnificent beauty of God’s creation. We read. I completed more embroidery than I usually manage to do in a few months at home.
We had time for deep, meaningful conversations.
Person 1: Does anyone know what day it is?
Person 2: I think it’s Monday.
Person 3: I’m pretty sure it’s Tuesday.
It is time to jump back into real life. Our wonderful team kept our ministry running smoothly, but I look forward to finding out what is going on. I’m eager to read comments on the past weeks’ Ask the Rabbi and Musing. (Now you know why I didn’t reply.) And, while I was perfectly content being unaware of what world leaders, politicians and pundits were doing and saying, too much ignorance isn’t healthy. Yet, it is good to know that the world managed without my input and I have to think that my mental health flourished without input from the world. Perhaps, for a short while at least, I can remember that just because I can access the latest news at the touch of my fingertips doesn’t mean that I should always do so.