Today, we arrive in L.A. to work with the Praxis fellows and to attend the Q Conference. When we viewed this picture (see above) our friend Dave sent, showing the Vatican scene when the Pope was announced in 2005 and 2013, we felt like it was time to hit pause and evaluate our device use in real life.
So, we offer this little reminder piece below as we lay off chronicling all of life in favor of “just being” for a couple of days. Join us!
Tim & Jason
Take your sons and daughters to the park. Read The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. Paint a picture. Turn off your air and open your windows. Walk barefoot in the grass, in the dirt, in the rain.
Visit the Lincoln Memorial. Keep a journal. Watch Rushmore. Listen to Radiohead’s OK Computer uninterrupted.
Read Flannery O’Connor’s collection of short-stories Everything That Rises Must Converge. View the Howard Finster exhibit at the High Museum of Art. Listen to Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s I See A Darkness, uninterrupted.
Mow your own grass. Grow your own tomatoes: even if you don’t like tomatoes, your friends do.
Learn a card trick. Read The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. Take a sabbatical, no matter how short. Bake an apple pie—make your own crust. Make something out of wood. Learn G, C, and D chords on the guitar. And wail on them!
Attend something at Radio City Music Hall. Take a photo. Develop it. Frame it. Memorize the lyrics to Sweet Caroline by Neal Diamond. Volunteer. Wear something for comfort not style. Ride a bike. Visit a National Park. Knit a hat. Read a book on science.
Listen to Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, uninterrupted. Make a short movie, play it for your friends. Play wiffleball with the kids on your street. Visit a working farm. Observe. Attend a concert by your local symphony. Listen to Radiohead’s Kid A uninterrupted. Then do it again.
Act like a tourist. Smell the coffee. Wear socks that don’t match your outfit. Go surfing. Learn to play Van Halen’s "Jump" on the piano.
Visit the Museum of Natural History in New York City. Skip a rock in a creek. Dance in your underwear to Generation X’s “Dancing With Myself”.
Climb a tree. Make something out of Play-Doh. Listen to “Prelude and Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla” from Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner. Play checkers. Study another religion.
Listen to live music at your local bar. Drink a bottle of Chimay with a friend, repeat. Avoid chain restaurants and stores when possible. Listen to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, uninterrupted.
Read Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
Repurpose something. Visit your local library. Unplug. Read The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. Hand write a letter. Write a poem. Attend something at Atlanta’s Fox Theater. Listen to Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Movement 4, “March to the Scaffold” performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy.
Go for a boat ride. Play chess. Take your spouse on a date. Watch Dancer in the Dark. Visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Listen to Ten by Pearl Jam, uninterrupted.
Read to your kids. Visit the Vietnam Memorial. Read The Book of Images by Rainer Maria Rilke. Observe Sabbath. Ride a four wheeler. Smoke a pipe occasionally. Take a walk.
Join a sports team. Wrestle with your sons. Go fishing. Give away some money; someone always has less than you. Take a walk in the rain. Stop by a friend’s house, unannounced.
Learn to cook soul food. Start a hobby that you previously abandoned. Read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ride a skateboard. Make a wish.
Take your daughter on a date. Read a book on philosophy. Hang a birdhouse in your yard. Listen to “Suite for Solo Cello No. 6” by Yo-Yo Ma.
Go swimming in the ocean. Make a card for someone. Light a candle. Play air guitar. Draw a cartoon. Read On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Make a sand castle.
Do all of this without twittering about it or announcing it on Facebook or posting a YouTube video.
Do it because life isn’t lived in pixels and bytes, but in the amazing technicolor of a beautiful, beautiful world.
Pass this on to your friends as a reminder to live in the now. Enjoy being!
Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.