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On Leaving the Internet for One Year

Sunlight tumbles into my bedroom like it’s performing a circus act. I watch yellow soaked rays catch in the blinds, fall onto the floor. Flicker through each eye lash. And I think. I just think, today hurts. But I am not sure why.

I want those yellow rays to drip onto me. Soak my thoughts. My resolve. My…everything.

on leaving the internet for one year

Yesterday my newsfeed was on repeat. This article kept surfacing. I clicked through and read it. Then I felt sober. Very sober. I wanted to take a nap.

But not because the article was boring. Because something struck a chord.

If you watched the video in the article you will remember how Paul Miller said that he is more of a depressive. That sometimes it hurts to just be alive. And I thought, that’s it. This hurts. Life. A lot. Right now. This day. And the thought of tomorrow morning. Another day.

I think maybe I’ve seen too much. I think maybe it was a bad idea to start thinking about Thailand and the one girl I could not rescue out of prostitution.

I think it was a bad idea to say yes three years ago to going to India. Now that boy with marred fingers and a patch over his eye, pounding on my car window, won’t go away.

I remember thinking that maybe I shouldn’t say yes to Peru because I figured what would be there is a mother, by herself, living on a heap of rocks abandoned by her alcoholic husband, trying to raise a boy while living in poverty. Trying to raise a child while living in desperate poverty.

And now I am thinking maybe it is a bad idea that I said yes to Nicaragua, because I can’t erase what I will see.

What will I see? And will I will cycle through all the usual questions, “Why them and not me? What can I do? Why aren’t I doing more? How do I reconcile what I’ve seen here with my life back in America?”

And how can a heart hold so much?

But I think what hurts the most is being here. Not just in America. In this world. Sometimes it really does hurt to just be alive.

There is this longing in me that is so vast I think the sea would look like the smallest glass of water next to it. A drop of water in a furious fire. A cool wisp of wind by the time it fell into the blaze.

How can a heart hold a fire? How can eternity be planted inside of me without such a reactive grasping for the place I know is home.

To him who has been forgiven, he will forgive much. To him who has been lavishly loved, he will love much. And perhaps, to him who knows his place, his home, he will long much.

I wish I could wrap these thoughts in some pretty bow. In some resounding hope. And there is hope. So much hope. But it is well with me, to know this longing. To embrace it. To live while it hurts and churns so repeatedly. And there is this verse,

“Also, He (God) has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;” (Ecclesiastes 3:10-12).

And this verse,

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16).

I suppose, this is the thorn in the side of a sojourner.

Am I the only one? Have you felt this longing as intensely?

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  • JacquieMay 3, 2013 - 2:57 pm
    For me Brianne, what struck me most about Paul's article was how, when the newness of being offline wore off, the old bad habits eventually took over again. And that the Internet could no longer be blamed for the pain in his life. I have often wondered if I could live a life completely disconnected from the Internet -- forever. And have fantasized about what that life would look and feel like. Reading Paul's article and reading your post is helping me to realize, there are things I can blame for my pain and discontent, but there are core things that cause that pain, and it's not the external things I typically blame. I think my pain comes from when I am disconnected from the One who loves me most. When I believe lies about myself and Him, when I forget His promises...and probably a few more things that I have yet to discover. HA! Thank you for writing this and for sharing your heart. It's helped me process mine. Really, a form of community I would never have experienced with you if it weren't for the Internet. :) I can't wait to read all you will have to share from Nicaragua in June!!


    • belleandbeauMay 3, 2013 - 3:54 pm
      Wow, Jacquie, thanks so much for sharing your heart. I love what you said about the real issue is when we "unplug" from our Creator. I think you nailed it. One of my friends told me that even though Paul might not think being away from the internet for one year was a true success story, the fact that he said he wants to help people more (he said that near the end of the video) truly is a win. Grateful for your heart and how you see things!


hello love...

Welcome! I'm Bri! Accidental home cook. Lover of gathering people around a table over a meal. Author of Come & Eat (September 2017). What I really want is to pull out a chair for you at my table. But until then, I hope you stay awhile and enjoy my stories + recipes! 

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