Reflections on Being “Unconnected”

For the past 6 days, I have been unable to access the Internet, except for a brief, inexplicable time when the DSL connection worked for a few hours, then went bad again.

It’s been very frustrating, but enlightening.

Frustrating because, of course, so much of what I do is dependent on being able to hook up to the Internet. Whether it’s research, email, Twitter, connecting to the various accounts that allow me to get my work done, I must be connected or I’m “up a creek without a paddle,” as the cliché goes.

It’s also been an enlightening experience because

it’s caused me to consider what I’d do if connection to the World Wide Web were permanently severed. It’s made me ponder the nature of most of my work now–dealing with information, connecting with people and networks through technology.

I’ve been trying to recall what life was like before all this technology. Can you recall what it was like not to have any email to check? Not to have to deal with dozens if not hundreds of emails in my inbox, not to mention Twitter and Facebook updates? Not to have to figure out cable connections and computer settings and how a modem and Linksys box are configured? (When did the word “configure” even enter into my vocabulary?)

Time has felt different these past few days. It feels like there’s more of it. Funny how much time slips by when you’re online.

So what did I do instead of the work I would have done? I cleaned out clutter. I attended a wedding and a graduation party, relaxing with friends. I bought some flowers and would have planted them, if it had not rained. I called a friend. I cooked better meals. I took my daughter shopping for clothes.

I also went to the library and used public access. (Unfortunately, it was closed most of the weekend, since it was a holiday.)

What I couldn’t do: pay my bills (I do it online), research for new waterbed mattress, update Twitter and Facebook, read my emails (I trust my friends understand), listen to a teleseminar and catch up with the training I’ve been trying to get to for weeks, and get much of my work done.

Ah well. There are gifts and blessings in everything, I believe. I’m pondering what the gifts in this experience are, but I think I’m getting close.

In fact, I recall a verse from the well-known Psalm 23: “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” Emphasis on “makes me.” These past several days, I’ve been forced to “lie down” and the pastures have, in fact, been green.

So for that, I’m grateful. The “abundant gift” has been rest of a sort. I guess God knew I needed it.

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