A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to go to a private island located in Rainy Lake in Canada. It’s a island owned by our pastor’s family and he invited us and another family to spend a few days there. I was looking forward to the fellowship, enjoying nature, watching the boys experience something more wild than suburbia, and, maybe most of all, I was looking forward to unplugging. I didn’t even pack my computer and that may be the first time that’s happened since I started my business, which is a little sad, admittedly.
This island had minimal electricity, though, so a computer was pretty pointless. I didn’t even know if I’d have cell service, so I thought I might be completely off the grid, but I did end up having decent reception. Despite that fact, I stayed off my phone and gave my full attention to what was happening right around me.
And it was such a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively.
Now, I will confess to being a bit of a wimp when it comes to roughing it. I can do it if I need to, but I’m not one who embraces ticks, leaches, mosquitos dive-bombing me at night, and having to use an outhouse. As I packed for the trip and felt some anxiety about those things, I pushed into the commitment to be there and tune into things that are real.
In this day and age, it’s so easy to live life on a screen. Between my laptop, iPad, phone, and TV, I can have a screen within arm’s reach any moment of the day. It’s convenient for running a business that’s based online, but it can also be a rabbit hole that siphons my time and attention from things that are more valuable.
And I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and watching my boys come alive in nature.
I even braved going out in a kayak and I loved it! Jeff and I are considering getting some for our family, since there are lakes and rivers a-plenty in Minnesota! After seeing how much the boys loved it, we think that would be a fun family activity.
The water was a bit cold for swimming (well, for those who aren’t native Minnesotans), but the boys spent a lot of time fishing off the dock. It seemed that anytime one of them wondered what to do next, they would grab a rod and start casting.
We also hiked on the trail around the island, which I enjoyed.
While the boys were playing or out in the boat fishing, I spent a lot of time sitting on the dock, sketching and painting. There were so many well-suited subjects.
Calvin and our pastor’s wife, who is quite a good artist, joined me in sketching and we enjoyed chatting about perspective and values and other nerdy art things. Calvin even engaged in looking at the perspective of the boat and trying to capture it on paper. He’s not consistently interested in art, but I love those moments when he slows down and draws or paints with me.
I will admit that I was happy to be back in the world of flushing toilets, ice on demand, and air conditioning, but the time spent on the island was so valuable. Since getting home, I have found myself drawn to going outside more and the Minnesota winter has definitely made me more appreciative of growing things, a warm breeze, and the sunshine.
It has all been a good reminder to keep everything in perspective. Life is really lived in the space between the screens and that space needs to be a little bigger.