The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile. For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
Mark 6:30, 31
I know the feeling of many coming and going with no leisure even to eat.
I was given that leisure and space this weekend with the offer of respite at my friend Angela’s house. From Friday to Saturday evening there was space and quiet and time to think and read and write. And watch a bluray movie on her massive TV.
I slept. I read an entire book. All the way through. I wrote. I rested. I listed. I sat by the fire. I listened to music.
It was a gift.
The disciples ended up being followed and recognized in their desolate place, leaving them with 5,000 hungry people to feed. Jesus worked the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes and then put them in the boat.
Soon I will get back into my boat and be launched out onto the water of a new week.
In that launching I will try to hold onto grace and peace and gratefulness for the time I was able to rest awhile.
It’s a change of perspective, this view from my bed, propped by pillows to gaze out the windows at the falling snow.
Snow on a Saturday is a rare, beautiful thing, removing the pressure of errands and running around; encouraging true stillness and rest.
Heart and mind try to rush ahead as I focus on falling flakes of white coating the ground and overgrown honeysuckle.
Be present. Be here. Breathe in the moment.
But even moments of snowy Saturday shalom shatter, as siblings argue over episodes, nerves fray, and plans change.
Quiet reflection and introspection last all of five minutes before knocks on the door interrupt asking for any number of things ranging from help reaching a cereal bowl to permission to open the new vitamins which I mindlessly grant and then become frustrated by the fact that there are two different kinds of vitamins now in use.
So in the rest, there is also disruption. In the stillness, there is noise. In the calm, there is chaos. In the falling snow, there is invitation.
Invitation to change. To engage. To rest. To be.
You are invited to enjoy your day! I am off to be present in mine, even though things USED to be FUN around here before all of these CHORES and having to put things AWAY that we are going to need later ANYWAY.
Because even in the midst of the rest, there is work to be done. Living in the tension, I tell ya!
I knew about this Sunday night and had prepared myself for it mentally. In my world a two-hour delay is only different in how the school morning is structured. I still clock in at the regular time.
I woke, did twenty minutes of yoga to get the body moving, then retreated to my corner for a few minutes of quiet reflection. That’s when I heard the buzz.
City schools are now closed.
That was the game-changer. When city schools close, and our grade school, as well, I stay home with my own children.
There are times when this last-minute closing has happened after I was already at work, and Steve has kept the kids and worked from home, but as a general rule, I am the home parent.
It is a different kind of work. A different disruption.
I sat in that space with mixed feelings. My heart struggled with the reality that it’s really not my circumstances but my heart that is disruptive.
I would be complaining if school were open. I don’t want to complain now that it is closed.
I voiced these thoughts and feelings to Steve who listened graciously and reminded me to be kind to myself and take it easy. He knows me too well. Knows that I stress and put pressure on places that only I see.
Today can I take the pressure off? Enjoy the kids? Embrace the gift of this day amidst the pattering of feet and frenzied excitement?
And so Monday dawned snowless but with great anticipation. Siblings picked episodes and bonded and argued and played together and eagerly watched out the window for the first flakes to fall.
It was hard. A different kind of hard than our school day routine but still hard. It didn’t feel restful much, but in the moments when I stopped and took a breath, I was able to receive rest.
I need you, Father.
I need grace for each day and love for my family.
I need to rest in you and be led by you.
I need strength to face challenges that arise and cause me to fear.
I need your comfort, protection, kindness, love.
I need your blessing.
I need you to keep me from going astray when I am tempted to have found a better way, so that I can dwell with you forever.
It’s the day after I re-posted a link to the blog from my facebook page. This post is the most-read and shared on the entire blog. In fact, there were more views yesterday than there would have been had I written a regular post.
Here is the post that would have gone up yesterday had my plan worked out. Apparently, I needed to wait to see what would come of the day before testifying about it.
It’s Friday, and I’m forced to sit in my corner with pen and ink and be still. Unplugged.
Disconnected from the world to connect with God.
It takes wifi failure, technical difficulties, computer glitches to bring me to this place of pondering and contemplation, and still my mind wanders like a lost sheep.
So much inside . . . so much to say.
But, but, but . . .
Even as I write just between me and God, I wonder what others would think if they knew.
It’s a fine line to keep ~ encouraging, reaching out, being still, looking in.
I face unknown within the known today.
I know Dave and Heather.
I don’t know their “new normal.”
I know Greg.
I don’t know who else will be with us on the two hour drive to visit them.
I know God’s faithfulness.
I don’t know how he will show it to me today.
And so I sit. Unplugged. Disconnected.
Trusting God to connect my heart to his and to draw me to the place I need to be where his mercies are new, my heart is satisfied, and I can rest.
Over six months since the initial diagnosis of leukemia and subsequent bone marrow transplant and long road to recovery, over three months since last seeing Dave and Heather in person before their move to Richmond for treatment, I was blessed to be invited to journey to their temporary home for a worship service.
I knew I needed to ride with someone and got in touch with the carpool contact. I didn’t know who else was going to go along. I knew this had been a hard week for me, and that my heart needed connection with God. I didn’t know how he was going to make that happen.
It happened through four hours in the car with my worship pastor, another pastor, and a licensed counselor. It happened through an hour and a half of singing, praying, weeping, and taking communion with Dave and Heather.
It happened through sharing stories and parts of the journey and reflecting on how very far back Steve and I go with the Shanks and they with us.
It happened through space to understand and process a little more and to be a little more disrupted and name a few more things.