A Recharged Battery

I love my digital camera. It's pocket-sized, handy, and easy to use. But there is one thing about it that drives me crazy: the battery. It seems that just when I'm ready to grab a memory-making photo, the screen goes gray, inappropriately chirpy chimes ring and the message comes up: battery exhausted. Really, does it have to be so happy about leaving me in the lurch?

How's your battery? No, not your camera's battery - I mean your personal one: your spiritual, mental, physical battery. I find it fascinating to think human energy is so short-lived, we have to spend a third of each day sleeping to revive for the next day. Sometimes, we need a deeper renewal than just sleep. We need a change of pace, a chance to get away and be quiet.

Our family recently returned from a long trip to the beach. From our native Central Pennsylvania, it's a long drive to get to one. (That's ignoring the deceptively-named, nearby town of Jersey Shore, PA.) We make the pilgrimage every few years because of its calming, restorative effect on us all. Even our college-age sons feel it. One of them arose before dawn one morning to take in the peaceful beauty of a sunrise. Then he promptly returned to bed. No need to run down one battery while recharging another.

In my many years of leading small-group discussions, I've noticed that there are some people who will only talk if there's a long silence. When the discussion is fast-paced, they tend to sit back and wait for a gap. Our thoughts are like that. We have ideas and insights that wait in the wings for some quiet. The flurry of everyday problem solving and the white noise of entertainment keep them at bay.

Inventors say that the three best places to come up with an original idea are The Three B's: the Bed, the Bath, and the Bus. All three are situations where your mind becomes still enough for creative thoughts rise to the surface. I'd like to add a fourth B: the Beach. But if you're even more land-locked than us, here's a fifth: the Backyard.

All you need is a place with a slower pace and you'll keep your battery charged.

Bruce Van Patter

all material ©2006 Bruce Van Patter