The opportunities afforded me today are literally incomprehensible. I will instantly have thousands of hours of video, hundreds of podcasts, and enough digital writing to fill a library (if it were on paper) with nothing but a quick voice command to Alexa, Siri, or Google. All of that knowledge, all of that opportunity, and all of that connection to society held within my hand.
I have emails waiting for responses on both my primary accounts, I have unread messages on LinkedIn, and text messages from friends that I haven’t responded to yet, and yet I still have a hunger for deep connection with other humans. I have a desire for something that is both more, and less, than the overwhelming tide of social-networking.
I remember an arduous hike from several years ago in Glacier National Park, wherein we ended up traveling several miles further than intended (which included being close to a black bear sow and her cubs at dusk and nearly missing the last shuttle in the park). One lady in the hiking group was of especially strong character and maintained a positive spirit throughout the ordeal, and near the end, when it was quite dark and we were all worn out and in pain from a mile of steep downhill grade, I remember her remarking “isn’t it marvelous how the farther we get, the more primitive our desires become? At first we all wanted to rest in our beds, and then we got hungry, and now all we can think about is getting a drink of water.”
A new dimension was becoming apparent in our lives at that point. The ever increasing challenge of the hike began to reveal the difference between our wants and our needs, between the things we merely craved and things we treasured, between the more superficial and the deeper things of life. We were enduring the process of pruning. I don’t have all the answers, and I still suffer the pain of loss, but I find yet more and more value in the process of pruning.