Friday, May 30, 2008

On Going Blogless

abstract sculpture


That is how I feel.

Because I said two little words that changed my week.

I said, 'So what?'

That was Sunday morning. Sunday is a day I've personally decided will be computer-free. No blogging. Not even email.

On Sunday morning, before anyone else was up, this is what happened...

I flick on the computer. I love that little sound it makes when it's booting up. My heart speeds up a bit. I feel light. A thought comes, 'It's Sunday you know.' The thought is maybe from my own brain, no voice from the Universe or anything. Still, I reply as if to Someone. 'So what?' I say in my head. I check email. Flit to a few favorite blogs. Decide to start breakfast. Pick up a mug full of water and take it directly over the keyboard, which I NEVER do. I'm home free. Even stepping towards the kitchen now. I pause. Why? I tip the cup backwards, in a most awkward and unnatural movement. I am surprised. Bizarre, this thing I've done. And now I see it. Water all over the keyboard. I tip the computer, wipe it off. I go back on-line to check things out. The machine seems okay. I push the 'Off' button. Hours later, my spouse asks what is wrong with the computer. How can I say it could be just this.... I said two little words to Someone. 'So what...'

The rest of the week was the answer to my bold and unwise question of so what? This is so what, when we compromise our commitments... isolation, loneliness, ruin, inconvenience, cost.

I should have known this of course. I had just finished a talk I would deliver on Tuesday, called Stone Upon Stone (hat tip to Ted Gossard by the way, for the phrase 'praying through sin', which I used in the talk.) One verse I hadn't included in the talk but which fit the imagery was from Proverbs, 'A man without self-control is like a city without walls.' On Sunday, I chose to go wall-less. What was I thinking?

I should have known.

(On a lighter note, here is what came of going blogless: I read Coming Home to Your True Self: Leaving the Emptiness of False Attractions. A REALLY good book. I started Keeping House, another excellent book. I kept house. I lost weight. I started playing my guitar after 15 years. Not the best, but you can hear proof below. Going blogless was painful, but life offered good things in exchange.)

Riddle Song, sung (not well, but hey, I'm a writer not a singer : )

Riddle Song Lyrics, spoken

Abstract Sculpture photo, by L.L. Barkat. Taken in Washington, D.C.


Ted's book club Heron Road, suffering discussion

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Blogger Dianne said...

Uncanny. I just ordered that book for myself (and hoping it arrives in time to take on vacation). So glad to hear your good take on it! And AND I too have made the commitment in the past to go blogless (PC-less) on Sunday (actually from Saturday afternoon till Sunday around 6pm seems to work best for me). I have slipped a bit lately but am recommitting to that here and now ;) So what . . . you're so right!

11:58 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

God is good even when we're not. Wow...that sounds cheesier here than it did in my head ;) I guess I'm struck by how much it seems like he thought you needed an internet break.

Take care...I hope you didn't lose anything important.

1:05 PM  
Blogger christianne said...

wow, laura. this was a great story. i love how open you were to taking God at his word (even when it was kind of forced on you through the keyboard-water-splashing).

lovely voice, you have. (and please try to read that without a yoda voice, because it didn't have a yoda accent when i wrote it.)

ps: that book sounds really cool. i'll have to look into it!

1:49 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

Your experience is making me pause and wonder what commitments I've made but fallen into a "so what?" attitude towards.

Sounds like you made good use of your time away from the internet.

You were missed!

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LL, you've inspired me to want to do the same. Sarah would certainly be happy if I gave the Mac a break once a week.

Nice performance too, congrats on picking the guitar back up.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Did Brandon just say he's going to pour a cup of water on his keyboard??

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i loved hearing you sing and play.



3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Craver, maybe on my work PC, but never the mac! Gasp... perhaps I should have been more specific. :)

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like that song. I like it's simplicity. I'd check out those books, but I'm buried in books over here. Sigh. Guess I'll just have to add it to my list.

6:09 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Dianne... I got it as a gift and was pleasantly surprised. It's extremely straightforward; read if you'd like to grow. :) The talk I link to in this post references a bit of the book too. So glad to hear of your recommitment! :) (Honestly, I don't expect other people to do the same; it's just something that's important to me.)

Sarah... good thing! I did like the break, even as much as I hated it, which I really did. It was very lonely being cut off from the wider world.

Christianne... thanks. I wish it were a story I didn't have to tell. Then again I sometimes think these things are formative in very deep ways, which has its merit. Both books are worth looking into. The second surprisingly so.

A Musing... it had that effect on me too. Brought me to deeper issues. Let me know if you find an answer to your question. :) Oh, and nice to be missed.

Brandon... I assumed you meant Sundays off. But Craver there got me thinking. Huh! Very funny. And yes, I think your wife would appreciate a day without technology. (Just ask and see : ). As for the "performance", it's a terrible recording and it was really hard to project while holding the phone on my shoulder and playing guitar. Sometime I'll try to do something a little better, but I do appreciate the compliments. :)

Craver... absolutely hilarious!!! (I think an angel poured it on mine. It seemed that way. Maybe you should warn Brandon.)

Nancy... it's fun to do these things, to share all these little pieces of me. Makes it feel like a more "real" world. Thanks for your encouragement!

6:16 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Heather! You sneaked in. Yes, I like the folk songs that I've learned from Blue Mountain Mama. You should hear her sing them; they're lovely. As for you being buried in books, I hear that some of the books you're buried in are pretty good. ;-)

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I love the picture that you took - I could stare at it for hours.

I also have been feeling convicted about the amount of time I spend on the computer (sitting down, actually). So your post was timely for me.

And I love that you put yourself out there with the recording! Thanks so much for sharing; I really enjoyed it.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Lynet said...

LL, I had no idea you had such a sweet, soft voice (speaking and singing). I should have known, shouldn't I? It suits you ridiculously well -- the sort of voice a stereotype-you would have, if you'll excuse me saying it! The world is not usually so tidy.

I must say, I never believe the world is talking to me in the fashion you've described here. But self control is a worthy aim, nonetheless, so I wish you the best of luck there. I wish me the best of luck, too, because I need it.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Nice to hear you singing and playing that song. Nice rhythm in your guitar.

Yes. I empathize with you. I'm probably too much to treat Sunday as any other day, though I guess I don't do some work on it. But it is good to make that a special day if one can and so chooses, I think. That sabbath rhythm of one in seven is good, I think.

Praying through sin. I had to think on that one. Would be good to see how you developed that.

But good to have you and your keyboard back!

6:37 AM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

I love the song. And the story of your blogless week. So, so good.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Dianne said...

I have to laugh - you are so sweet to leave comments but you're about the only one who ever reads that other blog of mine! ;) I tend to post there and forget and am always pleasantly surprised when you stop by. Thanks. I am really looking forward to that book. I see from your book list that we enjoy the same kind of reading. Bet you like Madeleine L'Engle too!

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LL -- I checked often to see when you would be back. I had no idea the nature of your "break." Interesting how the "so whats" often come back to us. I have seen a few of those in my life lately -- difficulties turned to blessing in part because I am set back on course again.

And the others are right; you're voice is just lovely. I am so glad you've picked up the guitar again. I play a little (very little) and am always so encouraged by the ability to "create" music.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Lloyd Irving Bradbury said...

So what you enforcedyour own edict
The colors are the emotions expressed in my dreams the subjects paint themselves. Not always are the dreams clear and nice, but reality is also that way. so I do not dwell too long in each.

8:54 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I think that is awesome.
I really enjoyed your blog and look forward to reading it except for Sundays. :-)
Keep up the great work brother.

10:08 PM  
Blogger bluemountainmama said...


yes, l.l.! that's awesome. you have a lovely, folky voice. and i love that a traditional song is getting passed along. :)that's the way it should be.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

What a great post - thanks for sharing your story and insights.

Some of our "accidents" are occasions of God's mercy to protect and care for us.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Ouch! When we say "no" or "so what" to invitation it can have such hurtful consequences. Though I think most often it is to the detriment of our own souls, shutting them down so they won't hear the invitation so clearly next time, making them less alive. I am loving saying "yes" to God's presence on Sabbath. Coming back to awareness in a simpler, slower time. Those 24 hours never last long enough!

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A technology "sabbath." What a great idea. Truthfully, you have convicted me, and in a really good way. Thank you.

By the way, I have to say I absolutely love the photo with this post. Very striking and interesting.

12:35 AM  
Blogger nannykim said...

Well, It is Sunday night and I have been blogless for some time because of family matters with the illness of the in-laws. However, it was nice to sit here and listen to you sing that song. I have heard it before and you have a very sweet enjoyable voice! There is a song I love and for some reason I thought of it as you were singing yours. Don't ask me why---It is called "Morning Dove" by Robinella and the CC string band --it has a play on the cooing of morning doves in it. I love morning doves( and their cooing )and the song interweaves the cooing sound in it and plays on the morning dove words. You should listen to it!!But back to the blogless time--I think it is refreshing to have a blogless time. Itis fun to focus on living in the moment of your life (which your poetry seems to indicate you do very well ). Blessings !!

10:31 PM  
Blogger Joy said...

You know how I relate to this! I think what saddens me is that before a few months ago, the thought would not have even crossed my mind.
But now that James and I have been doing the technology Sabbath for over a month and a half really separates out the time. (Particularly because James and I use the computers so much for work!)

10:29 PM  

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