I’ve been watching Esther Emery on Youtube, and I enjoy her voice, so I thought I’d pick up the book she wrote about taking a year off of the Internet and returning to the faith.
Overall, it was a good read. She uses prose well, and invites the reader into the life of her heart. I was disappointed, however, to not spend as much time learning about the deeper parts of her return to faith – this was very much more about the rewards of silence, the rewards of allowing oneself to become disconnected from cyberlife and reconnected to real life. If you’re considering reading this – do. But it might be a library book, not a purchase.
I found Esther because I was looking up her mom on youtube – Carla Emery spent her life writing the Encyclopedia of Country Living, which is a classic of the back-to-the-land movement. Esther has moved from rejecting the life her mom fought so hard for into accepting it wholeheartedly and this is, much of the time, the story of “why”.
The rhythm her life seems to have been not dissimilar to her mom’s life. First you run away from the country, head into the Big City, determined to live off your brains, then the needs of your heart, the deeper meaning of life, those call you back home, to the things that are real. And then your children, disgusted at your “innocence” and “simplicity” – they run off to the city in their turn.
I resonate with that profoundly not because I ran off to the Big City, but because I did not, and even so, being willing to disconnect oneself from the stream of praise and worldly value systems is painful. My choices have been good choices, in the main – but yet, I hold myself off from the simple, innocent *wisdom* because cleverness is so much more praiseworthy.
I enjoy the game of cleverness, the competition, the dance. I desire that people know I’m smart, interesting, worthy. Esther Emery talks about that craving, about going through withdrawals from the internet as source of validation. I don’t have any plans to leave the internet, but I do want to draw deeper to the well of wisdom, the place where simplicity and innocence are… and that means a denial of self, a denial of the self’s desire to seek validation in the moment, substituting a search for Truth and the patience that comes from waiting for the fruit to ripen and fall into one’s hand.
1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
I want that. But you see, right there, the cost, yes? I must be willing to appear foolish. Not written, but I must also be willing to be patient, waiting on the Spirit and not churning through a to-do list or a homework paper. I must be willing to be silent more often than not, waiting on the Lord, not running after every opportunity to be ‘useful’.
2017 is, indeed, a year of being, not a year of doing.
Esther Emery, “What Falls from the Sky” – good book, not all that I hoped, but good.