Reflections on Reflecting, Unplugging, and Healing

Posted on: Thursday, July 30th, 2015
Posted in: Unplugging, Blog | Leave a comment

IMG_8314Well, hi there!

Last time we gathered, the topic du jour (which became flavor of the month) was the notion of over-booking summer activities for kids. I defended it, and now that summer is two-thirds over, I still would. With any luck, summer has a riddim of its own that settles into a feel-good groove regardless of commitments. Or even crises.

  • While you’re busy making other plans…

I also know that in summer—or anytime—the fates can throw curveballs that hit you in the face with seams that imprint SURVIVAL MODE NOW. This happened last Friday, when my son had a sudden medical emergency that resulted in major surgery 12 hours after the onslaught. (He’s recovering well now.)

One leaves such a crisis feeling dizzied, humbled, and grateful. After all, he was off the grid in the Boundary Waters just last month; had this happened then and there, he’d have never made it home. And in a strange way, the many emergencies I’ve endured thus far in my life (horrible and life-changing) have schooled me in how the system works and trained me for this one.

Summer and the future look different, downright hazy, since his surgery. But we’re home, and the focus simplifies to nourishment, resting, and healing. His cliff–jumping, wake-boarding, and hardcore workouts prepping for the Princeton football team will have to wait. Thus the patient learns patience—and that we’re never really in charge.

And the dad learns that parenting doesn’t end at 18 or the final days before college. Sometimes the job only gets harder.

  • Healing happens…

“Healing” is a billion-dollar word these days, with enough experts and gurus and research to make a Ph.D. in the topic implausible. So, instead, we each go through our own perpetual education. The older you get and the more scars you earn, the more healing becomes a state of mind. A challenge. A process that feels more like Zen than physical therapy.

  • When unplugging takes on its own power

Unplugging—also a state of mind—comes naturally to me (FBOW). This summer, that has meant keeping work in check. Resisting blog writing. Finding the garden, kayak, and hanging with friends more fun than Facebook. And sometimes twitching in alarm when I’m practicing R&R and the cell phone rings or dings with texts.

Anyway, that cell phone doesn’t work like it used to. I mean, so many people are too overwhelmed to answer or reply—so your query sits like a mystery until…whenever. Too, the dang things often run out of power or just won’t function. That was true during the medical emergency when my wife was at a family gathering way up Lake Superior and I needed to inform her. Neither AT&T nor Verizon nor the magical Northern Lights could create a connection.

And we think these little things are the best and coolest thing since drive-in movies? I’ll take the drive-in, with popcorn and Jr. Mints, please. I’ll keep my land line too; one would have been priceless in this situation.

I wish more people chose to unplug, though I know it’s become difficult to ignore the attraction (addiction?) of a bestie sending you an emoji or an “LOL.” Unplugging is a discipline worth the…effort. And I swear it can lead to a more balanced, peaceful place.

  • Balance and peace

Funny. These things may be within reach even when possibly life-threatening emergencies bring breathless fear, cancel my best-week-of-the-year vacation, and leave a guy feeling about as in-control as the loon parents and their baby who float and fish on my lake every day.

They dodge countless boats nonstop; the line between life and death for them is more thin and invisible than fishing monofilament. They’ll soon fly far away into only more perils and threats, including their dangerously BP-polluted winter home in the gulf of Mexico.

They will survive, I hope. We’ll all survive, I hope. But there are no guarantees. And I just watched my son spontaneously come closer to blowing out the candles than he ever has.

So we’ll enjoy this unexpected gift of time together. We’ll watch and listen to the Twins, sip beverages on the patio, and catch up on our cribbage.

And I’ll go back to unplugging, reflecting, and soaking in this gorgeous summer—while I can, wherever I may be. In spite of—or maybe thanks to—omnipresent uncertainty, I know that all we have is today.

And so far, today is just about perfect.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply