It is quiet here. It is raining. I feel happy about the rain because the garden plants are drinking and growing as I write. I know this because I was out there and saw them. I stood there last night while the sprinklers attempted to water the garden before this rain and watched it growing. Nobody seems to care about this amazing thing except Elv and I. I can’t video it and share it. I stood there long minutes just watching. The corn doubled in height yesterday, I’m sure. I hilled the potatoes day before yesterday and now they need it again. Just growing. My music from the computer feels soporific. I can nap or not. There will be little or no disturbances. It is odd and surreal. This silence.
I entered this world evening before last while we were sailing. Brad and I set sail from Brockman’s Dock at six-thirty in the evening. The sun still high in the sky and the winds favorable. Lovely sail across the bay. The wind came up and we made a wrong turn away from it. That’s when my world went quiet for me. The wind grabbed our sail relentlessly pushing us into the blue, choppy evening lake. As I slid off the boat I could see the white inside of the boat over my head and coming toward me. Then only the gurgle of water over my head. Of course, I popped to the surface, kicking and spluttering, still watching that white boat coming … intending to capture me. Reaching up and hearing Brad yelling at me to not let it happen, I swam and kicked away, still reaching to capture it instead. And I did. So there we were in the water, bobbing around in the security of our life vests clutching the rim of the upside down boat.
One of the first things Brad said to me was, “Mom, your phone is gone.”
Isn’t that insane? There we were in the bay waters busily kicking, not drowning, and hanging on to that small little lip and the floating tiller in my other arm and he thinks of our phones. Well as the days go by, my phone at the bottom of Richardson’s Bay, useless and broken, I begin to understand why he thought of the phones in the midst of far more important minutes.
Yea, it is quiet. Multiple times a day I see a picture to snap. Over and over I want to see what the girls are saying to each other. I want to tell them something. I want to hear the GBC girls newsy things. Did the fruit come in? I want to tell someone to come look at my beautiful garden with me.
While we were drifting to shore toward unknown houses and lawns he promised me he’d buy me a new phone. Probably because he felt responsible for our plight. But also because our devices have become a meaningful part of our real lives. A thousand times a day I am reminded that there’s no handy way to connect to my people.
At first yesterday I felt bereft and lonely. I was terrifically weary for lack of sleep because it was midnight until the last man of our rescuers crawled into his warm, dry bed. I needed to debrief with someone with skin on. Someone who had been there bringing dry clothes, solving the mystery of un-turtling a little sailboat, its mast straight down and caught on the bottom. How
high deep does a mast reach? I needed to hear that every person out there who had worked in the dark water to save our craft was safe and sound. Instead here I was, at home alone with my weariness and no car and no phone after the guys went to work. I finally stretched out on the couch and tried to stop feeling stranded and encased in my own bubble, resting. By afternoon the silence began to feel more comfortable. Less frantic. And I realized again, that our daily reality is far too entangled in our devices. We’re losing touch with the important knowing that God’s gifts of creation and salvation and time and prayer can never be lost in the bottom of a lake. We are not connected by mere device to the truly important, ever. We have faith.
When Elv got home from work he handed me his phone. “Here you are, catch up with the family if you want.” Oh my, did I ever! Then I called over to Brockman’s because Brad was there bailing the boat and looking it over for damage. When Susie answered the phone, she understood my need to debrief better than I did. Those few minutes of talk restored me immensely. We do need each other and our phones allow for that in very special ways. I also found out from my catching up with our family on Whatsapp that the Nebraska people wanted to hear “what really happened” out there. And thanks to Elv’s phone, albeit an Iphone, (just had to mention that) I got to tell my part of the story after a long day of silence. It’s funny how good that made me feel about life. Or maybe not funny.
After all it has been a nice kind of quiet. I just had to get accustomed to it. I can “hear myself think” for a change, as my mom would say when asking us to quiet down when we were little. So now, when I have a phone again, how will I do? Is there a way to not lose the quiet? I’m still thankful for our family and church family communicating daily about the non-essential and the eternal. It is a rich privilege and I’m not likely to forget that very soon. Still, I want to value work, worship, and prayer with attentive focus as well.