Pulling into the parking lot at Kanuga Conferences, I thought I knew what to expect. The beams and stone of the main lodge welcomed me back. I looked forward to checking into my room and exploring the views of Kanuga Lake from the lodge's massive deck, where a long line of rocking chairs beckoned. It was a wonderful vantage for contemplation and soaking in the tranquil beauty. A large white cross, nestled among the pine trees on the other shore, perpetually invited prayer. Spring blossoms would now be gracing the scenery just as they did the winding entrance road to this 1,400 acre haven.
So I was surprised by my reaction when the desk clerk told me I would be staying in a guest cabin rather than a hotel room in the lodge.
"ACROSS the road?! Is there internet access over THERE?!"
The clerk's eyes widened as she drew back and stared at me for a moment. She seemed to assess that I was embarrassed by my outburst. She calmly assured me that, yes, the wi-fi reached to the cabins.
"Oh, good, because I am here for work and, well, yes, that's good. Thank you," I stammered.
The clerk smiled sweetly but I knew inside she was rolling her eyes and saying, "Whatever."
I lugged my technology-laden baggage over the stone path and up the wooden stairs to the entrance of my cabin. I couldn't believe I had an entire cabin to myself. It was more than 100 years old and rustic, but its sentimental charm was delightful. I opened the door to a spacious closed-in porch where a wooden bench swing awaited, suspended from the one inch, tongue and groove paneled ceiling. How perfect for enjoying the view through a flowering dogwood tree just outside the windows.
I started touring, taking photos to text to my husband. There were two bedrooms, a large bathroom with a claw foot tub and shower stall, a sitting area with a sink, a desk and, oh my, a fire place with a small pile of chopped wood on the hearth!
I intended to review notes for the retreat I would be facilitating the next day, but just had to build a fire. After it was blazing, I called my husband to ask if he had seen my latest pic simply captioned, "1 match."
I thought about posting this achievement to Facebook, but suddenly remembered the intensity with which I asked the inn clerk about the internet. Here I was, in this natural spiritual sanctuary of peace and beauty, and I was going to get on Facebook. Really?
No, really I would not, I concluded. "I've built a fire. I am going to watch it and pray about the retreat tomorrow."
Then my phone vibrated and before I knew it I was swiping to see what the Facebook notification was about.
"Oh stop!" I groaned. I tossed the phone to the next chair.
It took only a moment to realize the pathetic irony. Here I was, about to speak directly to the Creator of the universe, and I stopped to see what someone else had to say about some inconsequential event that some other person posted.
Okay, that was it. It wouldn't be much of a digital detox, but for the rest of the evening, no electronics. Just me, the fire, and Jesus. Who, by the way, loved me so much that He died for me and rose from the grave. No need for a server providing a wi-fi connection - Jesus was right here, listening and caring more deeply than anything on the World Wide Web.
We had a wonderful chat. I asked for Jesus' blessing on the retreat. I shared with Him my wonder that He had given me this work that helps build up His church. I admitted nervousness, but recounted His promises to have my back. I thanked Him, praised Him, and listened. I am pretty sure He was smiling.
Peace and sleepiness hit at the same time. I closed the glass doors to the embers and said a final thank you and good night to my precious Lord, vowing to power off to the world and up to Him more often.
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