At the end of May, I had the opportunity to travel to southern Spain for a conference with a missions organization I was once a part of. The venue was a swanky resort on the edge of a small town called Huelva on the Atlantic coast. Since Huelva is an hour from Faro in Portugal, me and my friend P decided to take in a little of Portugal as well. So we flew into Lisboa, spent the night there, took a train down to Faro, spent the night there, and made our way to Huelva by bus.
The conference – a retreat for 350+ weary missionaries serving all over the world – was designed to be a time of rest, renewal, re-connection and rejuvenation. And it was! We heard provocative teaching, engaged in lively and joyful worship, spent every afternoon praying for each team, and had many rich conversations, often while eating delicious food (lots of it!) and drinking unlimited wine.
The following week I stopped in London to visit my family, which allowed me to extend my time of much-needed rest and renewal. And unlike the wet weather we’re having in New York, the days were bright and dry.
In the two plus weeks I was away, I limited my intake of media: news, social and otherwise. This wasn’t something I planned but being in Spain and Portugal, I was either on the road or absorbed in what someone at the conference described as a “love fest”. There was absolutely no need for additional stimulation; this meant the flat screen TV in our room was barely noticed and never touched.
I’m a great lover of the radio and in London, my mother had left a small radio in my bedroom. For some reason, I wasn’t tempted to indulge. I think after the intensity of the conference, my mind craved space and quiet just to think and absorb.
I so enjoyed my unintended “‘media fast” that I’m going to extend it for the summer. Now that I’m back in NYC, while I’ll still catch the news in the morning, in the evenings I won’t be turning on my radio. (I gave up TV a few years ago). Instead I’m going to savor the silence and give my mind the opportunity to slow down and contemplate in this more laid-back season.
Perhaps I’ll even get some reading done.