Monday, August 22, 2016

Rest

 

My peace I give you.  

Um, no. That's not how I feel, Lord... I don't really have time to stop for your peace. And I'm not totally convinced my heart could even receive it right now.

My peace I give you. 

Ok, well, its worth a try, but I feel like I'm simply coming up for air.  Wave after wave.

Coming up for air - my self-labeled description of late. A summer full of travel, one trip overlapping with the next, and the next, and the next... our oldest starting a new school with us practically out of the country (I know Alaska is technically in the country, but it doesn't feel like it, and our cell phones certainly don't register there), returning home and plunging into the whitewater rapids of back to school frenzy...   I'm so "coming up for air" that I can hardly add anything to our calendar.

When I feel this way, I tend towards self-pity. I tend to think I'm the only one with too much to juggle, poor little old me. And a few hours, a few days pass before I even realize my faulty thinking, all that energy wasted on me me me.

Because when I open my eyes, I see others truly facing breaking waves. Waves of grief, waves of struggle. My precious neighbors, somehow getting out of bed this morning on the one-year anniversary of their young-adult son's death. Our community blanketed in grief, filing into a funeral this afternoon for an 18-year-old baseball teammate and friend. Many of our friends saying good-bye as they tuck their kiddos into to college dorm rooms, and if that's not emotion-laden enough, those college freshman are missing move-ins and rush and first days of class to be back in Fort Worth for this funeral today. Just this morning I sat and visited with a dear friend who might not have a home - scrambling to decide where to live and how to pay for it - by tonight. This same gal just had her car broken into over the weekend, with all of her earthly belongings inside, and now owns pretty much the clothes on her back. The "lighter" incidents - Corbin's pulled back, Connor's delayed flight, today's volleyball tryouts for brand-new-to-middle school Basden, school starting today with all that accompanies that... those "lighter" things still take time and energy and can just be plain consuming.

One of my very favorite writings from one of my very favorite devotionals, Streams in the Desert, says it far better than I can:
Two painters were once asked to paint a picture illustrating his own idea of rest. The first chose for his scene a quiet, lonely lake, nestled among mountains far away. The second, using swift, broad strokes on his canvas, painted a thundering waterfall. Beneath the falls grew a fragile birch tree, bending over the foam. On its branches, nearly wet with spray from the falls, sat a robin on its nest.
The first painting was simply a picture of stagnation and inactivity. 
The second, however, depicted rest.

Outwardly, Christ endured one of the most troubled lives ever lived. Storms and turmoil, turmoil and storms - wave after wave broke over him until His worn body was laid in the tomb. Yet His inner life was as smooth as a sea of glass, and a great calm was always there.

Anyone could have gone to Him at any time and found rest.

Rest is not some holy feeling that comes upon us in church. It is a state of calm rising from a heart deeply and firmly established in God.
(June 13, Streams in the Desert)

Today - I want to be that artist's robin, knowing that even wet from the spray of the waves, the waterfall (which doesn't stop - and who would want it to??), the fullness of this life, that He offers us peace. And then any one of us, at any time, can find our hearts at rest.