Falling Off The Grid

Twice a year I take a week-long personal retreat.  It is a luxury I have at this stage of my life.  I have discovered a quiet hermitage nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina.  I typically go in the Spring and the Fall.  (living in Florida I miss the four seasons – here we only have two – Hot and Not So Hot)

The landscape comforts me. The crisp air, the aroma of a fire burning in the fireplace, a stack of books to read, wrapping my fingers around the neck of my D-41 Martin, whittling on the front porch.  Each time I am there I discover new things.  It is an intentional act of falling off the grid.  I unplug from the normal routines and tasks and enter what for me is a sacred space of reflection, prayer, writing and creativity.

We need time to unplug from the 24/7 constant media feed life can become.   We need a level of silence and solitude that keeps us healthy in body, mind, soul and spirit.  We need to look in the mirror every so often, examine our lives and gain perspective on where we have been, where we are and where we are going.  Does life need a course correction?  To ask these questions we must remove ourselves from the ordinary and enter a new and welcoming space where we can see and hear differently.

The hermitage time lets me hear a different cadence.  It forces me to alter my pace, pay attention and focus.  Without these moments life could just amble by year after year until 10 or 20 years pass and I have not grown as a person.  So if I were a doctor I would prescribe for everyone some hermitage time a couple of weeks each year.  For many that is a prescription you could not take or have filled.  If that is you there is good news…

You can learn to practice this idea of retreat everyday.  Some days, a few minutes maybe an hour or more enter what I would call a holy rest a place of divine peace. BE STILL.  Stop the barrage of information.  Gather yourself, your thoughts to discover for a moment what is truly important and essential.  We are encouraged to:

Finally, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Philippians 4:8

Doing this will assist in clearing the clutter and living life to the fullest.


Growing up I always had a roof over my head and food on the table.  That makes me very rich when compared to seventy-five percent of the world.  We had all we needed and then some, the necessities of life were all accounted for at 28 Mimosa Drive.  Maslow’s hierarchy of need tells us that when the most basic needs of life are not met, it’s hard to think about the other things of life.  If you belong to that fortunate twenty-five percent who doesn’t worry about where you will lay your head tonight or where your next meal will come from then pause for a moment and be grateful.

While your physical need for safety, food and shelter may be met, there are other provisions that are vital to creating a deep sense of well-being,  take love for example.  Growing up, I knew without a shadow of doubt that I was loved.  When I think about it, this is the greatest inheritance my parents gave me.  Their love gave me confidence to be who I am.  I was far from perfect but I endeavored to be a good son, student, friend; not so my parents would love me but because I knew they already did love me.  I did my chores, sometimes reluctantly but I did them because I loved my Mom and Dad and they loved me.

There is a lot lacking in this world.  Politicians and pundits are quick to point out the shortcomings of our culture and society.  We can criticize “the Haves” and pity “the Have-nots”.  I am reminded often of a quote from Mother Teresa;

The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.

So how can we fill the gap of this poverty of love?  What can you do to provide kindness and compassion to people you encounter every day?  If you are willing to make a difference; to give, serve, embrace and touch then you make the world a little more like home.