By Graham Glover –
I find the idea tempting. Really tempting.
On so many levels I’m the last guy in the world that should seriously consider this. The fact that I’m writing a post about it boggles the mind. Nothing about it seems like something I would do or that anyone who knows me thinks I would find appealing. But I’m tempted. Really tempted.
Then I think about a life without so many of the conveniences and technological “luxuries” that my family and I have grown accustomed to over the years. It then only takes me 0.5 seconds to realize that the idea is ludicrous. After a few days we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. What am I thinking? Going off the grid? I can’t be serious.
But I am. And the more I think about it, the more tempted I become.
I might feel this way because my family and I just got back from another weekend jaunt over to the island of Kauai. This place has completely sucked us in. We are mesmerized by everything about it: it’s landscape, it’s people, it’s ambiance. To those that have visited, you know I’m not exaggerating when I call this island the Eden of the Pacific.
It’s no wonder then that after spending 4 days on this little slice of paradise that my desire to go off the grid – to shed myself and my family from so many of the things that monopolize our lives, our thoughts, and our emotions – is on fire.
The political juggernaut of this year’s election that has spiraled out of control is an afterthought on an island with so many pristine and un-commercialized beaches. With mountains and trails that beg you to hike them – time and time again, breathtaking waterfalls, caves, and countless places to kayak, swim, paddleboard, or canoe, I could care less about politics when visiting. I know they’re not, but the ramblings of The Donald and Hillary, Inc. seem trivial when I’m there. To that end, there isn’t much need or desire to be preoccupied by a television or computer (those ever-present screens that consume so much of our lives), when you can camp in a different place every night of the year and still be taken in by the island’s beauty, hoping that you don’t have to go back to the hustle of what we have come accept as normal. I’m sure there are the normal workplace and relationship stresses that all of us have among Kauai’s inhabitants, but I never get the same sense of worry when I engage the locals.
But even if I never get the chance to go back to Kauai (don’t worry fellow saints of St. Matthew’s – Kauai, I’ll be back soon!), there is something about going off the grid that I find increasingly appealing. In our ever-connected, ever anxious, and ever politicized/sexualized/secularized/ostracized world, I am captivated by the idea of pulling back, turning off, and tuning out. This isn’t to say I want to alienate myself from others or cloister myself or my family from a sinful world. We are relational beings that need community and whatever community it is, it will be one filled with and stained by sin.
But I sure am tempted. Tempted to go off the grid, maybe not forever, maybe not completely, but at least on some level. Will it happen? Not likely. But that’s ok, because even here – in the midst of the grid – there is grace and forgiveness, there is Christ. And wherever He is, on the grid – off the grid, there is true hope and joy.