Disconnect to Reconnect

Andrea Petit Jean
By Andrea Price @aprice_1
This weekend I did something I’ve never done before: I. went. camping. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew what I wanted to do, disconnect to reconnect. Disconnect from the virtual space and reconnect to what matters a great deal to me faith, family and service.

My husband, two kids and I made the trek to Petit Jean Mountain with a tent, sleeping bags, food, fishing poles and a sense of adventure. I didn’t check emails, Facebook, Twitter… I didn’t make any phone calls or answer any either. Honestly, I didn’t even think about it. Out of site out of mind was my reality.

The first day there, we set up camp, roasted hot dogs and enjoyed each other’s company before sleeping. We decided not to bring an air mattress…lesson learned, the ground was way too hard. What helped me sleep was the smoothing sound of the waterfall next to our campsite.

The next day, we got up early, ate breakfast and went fishing. We then went for a hike on one of the beautiful trails on the mountain. Many of my most amazing experiences with God happen outside, and seeing the wonderful valleys and hills, the awesome rocks and streams, hearing the sounds of the waterfalls and birds reminded me of the splendor of God. I was able to truly connect through this experience. This connection helps renew both my mind and spirit.This is important to me because my faith is connected to my service.

The trail we hiked was a little difficult for my two year old, so my husband and I (mostly my husband) carried her when the trail became rocky. Where the trail was flat, she walked. This bonding experience helped remind me that when life gets a little rocky, we are never alone. My six-year-old son was such a trooper. A couple of times on the trail he got a little scared, but then he would say, “I am brave. I can do this” and he did. That positive self-talk came in handy because he hiked all the way down and back up the trail. These experiences not only brought us closer as a family, but it also taught me that we are resilient and have to support each other through both rocky and smooth times.

After the hike, we returned to our campsite where we went back to the fishing hole for about an hour, ate a snack and packed up because a bad thunderstorm was moving in. (We didn’t want to get stuck on the mountain!) As we descended the mountain, I saw a view of the valley and the sun setting. This was another reminder of the splendor of God!

As I reflect on this camping experience, I feel a stronger connection to doing what really matters to me, living a life dedicated to serving others in whatever way I can. I disconnected to reconnect and now I am reinvigorated and eager to do my work with passion and most importantly, love.

How do you disconnect to reconnect?