I do not know what to say about all the pipe bombs that were mailed yesterday that did not explode. There have been other times when I thought society was about to undergo a crucible moment, but then the events stopped. Other times, of course, some sort of rubicon was passed, and the society on the other side wasn't the one we once had.
Where are we now? It's a question that I ask about our society almost daily. There was a moment yesterday when I saw awful news of a mother who listened to her college student daughter being murdered while they were on the phone together where I thought I might have to undergo a total news fast.
I have not been successful at doing that ever, except perhaps when I was in college in a small southern town that didn't get much in the way of radio signals from larger cities, and the only TV we had was in a common room. I used to wonder how long it would take for us to find out if something major had happened--and I always framed that something major as something like the start of war.
However, during the past week, I have been on a news fast of sorts. I've had several days of reconnecting deeply with people, often by way of hours spent in conversation. I saw two grad school friends on either side of my retreat, and I spent the retreat itself with a Create in Me retreat friend. Last night, I met my former campus pastor and spouse for dinner at a Cuban restaurant.
In that paragraph, what do I see? I see a collection of friends from various phases of my life: undergraduate school, grad school, spiritual life, married life. Interesting that there are no friends-met-at-work in that paragraph--with limited Internet access, I wasn't even communicating with them, the way I sometimes do, by way of e-mail or Facebook.
Of course, those friends were at work, so I couldn't spend long, luxurious swaths of time with them, the way I could with others during the time of retreat. I wonder if there are ways to recreate the deep connection times during my regular life. Once I thought it might come in meeting for meals; now I'm thinking that the meal is not the key item, at least not if it's in a restaurant. When I meet my local friends for a meal in a restaurant, we're often squeezing it in around our other activities. Let me ponder the ways that I can make my regular life reconnecting time more like retreat life reconnecting time.