This week, I took 2 days off for an overnight backpacking trip. Even then, I found myself hurrying, trying to get through the miles. But, with a few minor exceptions, I was alone for more than thirty hours and totally unplugged. Even if I sometimes found myself walking quickly, I could not do anything else—there was nothing else to do!
I do not love everything about backpacking. But I do love the relative peace that comes from having nothing to do but walk. Alone in my tent, relatively far from civilization (in fact, a road was only a few hundred yards away, but I felt removed!), I fell asleep at 8:30. It has been a long time since I went to bed so early!
On my trip, short as it was, I felt things shift just a bit inside. I was a little more peaceful and a little more patient, since I had nothing else I could be doing. And I found myself talking to God a little more than usual. When I needed something (like seeing a blaze to let me know I was on the right trail), I asked God. When something good happened (like seeing a pair of coyotes), I thanked God.
I have been back two days, and things have shifted back into normal, meaning I am back to feeling pressed. I want to develop that same attentiveness even when I am busy, but I have a long way to go! In the meantime, I am grateful for a brief time at a different pace that gave me space to be a bit more attentive to God in the little blessings and challenges of life.