Saturday and I have a love/hate relationship.
I'm bad at doing nothing.
I can manage it - I can station myself on the couch in my pajamas and I can stay there. But the trouble is my brain. Does down time really count if you sit on the couch, but your mind doesn't rest?
I remember the first time I heard Mika's song, "Relax," a friend who worked at summer camp with me played it in her car one Friday after work. There's a line that says, "It's as if I'm scared. It's as if I'm terrified. It's as if I'm scared. It's as if I'm playing with fire."
Yeah, those are dramatic words - and they totally resonate with me.
I have my own list of "what if" things in life. You have one, too.
My list is on repeat, constantly scrolling through my head: What if I don't work ahead another month on choral anthems for church? What if I'm sick on the day of that concert? What if I don't have time to type up lesson plans on Monday? What if I don't get to Knoxville in time for that gathering? What if I forget to pay that bill? What if there isn't enough money to pay that bill? What if we never get the piano tuned? When was the last time we tuned the piano? What if we have kids someday and we can't fit everything we need in this house? Why did we buy this house? Do we like this house anymore? I haven't cleaned the house this week. I need to clean. I should clean now. What if I'm not really good at my job? What if God is disappointed in my work? What if people at church wish I would work more? What if I make a mistake in worship tomorrow and everybody wishes they had a better music minister? What if they already wish they had a better music minister? What if I'm not putting in enough extra hours at school? What if my health insurance doesn't always cover my family? What if we get a pay cut next year? What if I ever have to take a leave of absence and we can't make ends meet? What if? What if? What if? . . . . . . . . . . . . .
You get it, right?
Insecurities and cognitive dissonance. Things we can't control. Thoughts we shouldn't even be entertaining.
Relax. There's nothing we can do about these things. The only thing we can do is live, and if we believe that life is a gift from God, we should be living with as much awareness as possible all the time.
I need to be aware of the fact that right now it's quiet in this living room.
I need to be aware of the fact that right now nobody is expecting anything of me . . . .
I need to be aware of the fact that silence isn't a bad thing.
Stillness is not a sin.
And since when has God been one to work with the perfect people? And are there even any perfect people?
This weekend I'll be gathering with other singers at the home of a church choir member to say goodbye to a woman who has poured encouragement into my heart since my first week on the job at our church.
She's moving far away to be with family.
Her favorite song is "O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go," a fact which I find totally appropriate. She's a calm person and every verse of this hymn reinforces the idea releasing all of our efforts, all of our moments and ambitions, to God. Listen to this. Just be quiet for a minute and listen. It's so beautiful. Maybe the best rendition I've heard yet.
She used to tell me when I'd run a good choir rehearsal. It was never the rehearsal I would've deemed the best. It would always be a night I'd made some silly mistake. A night I'd made a mistake and admitted to a mistake. A night when everybody laughed. A night when we didn't push too hard, but smiled a little more.
Last week I wrote about "letting go" as an important thread running through the holistic human experience.
I write about it like a recovering addict. Addicted to dragging with me every failure, grudge, and unmet expectation . . . every obligation - addicted to exhaustion - addicted to finding my worth in my business.
Am I not worth the same to God and my close loved ones resting as I am working?
Is it not built in as part of our humanity, that we have to rest to be healthy?
Do I trust that God knew what God was doing when I was sewn together in the womb? A temporal creature.
We'd been walking all afternoon when we sat to rest and I looked up and saw this beautiful rotunda. I found it while resting.
Resting on a hike with my favorite person, a long time before we knew we'd spend the rest of our lives working and resting together.
Resting as we went down into the Grand Canyon. When you are still, you see things better.
I found this perfect little creature resting in our garden just after sunrise a few weeks ago. Resting is part of natural life.
Yet, with all of this evidence around us that resting is good, we find ourselves disgusted when we realize that we need it.
As a person who does a good deal of work on the day that my denomination considers to be the Sabbath, I see the disconnect. We believe in the holiness of a day spent with God, but we don't believe in the holiness of a day spent at rest. Or a day spent in calm fellowship. It's a broken place in the way that we believe.
We believe in a healthy life of faith, but we don't affirm that rest and recovery are a part of this.
Jesus took rest.
God took rest. Maybe as an example for us?
I have a goal for myself this year to fully engage myself with rest when it is time to do so.
You and I both know how difficult this can be.
Teachers and ministers are notoriously bad at letting go of thoughts concerning work.
A public school teaching music minister is hideously bad at it.
But I can see evidence all around me that it will be a good and right thing if I can carve out this meaningful rest time. Will you try, also?
Will you lay aside your work and your thoughts of work for a small time so that you can see your loved ones for who they are? Will you lay it aside so that you can remind yourself how to breathe deeply? Will you become quiet so that your heart can remember how to slow down?
I will if you will.
We'll mess up, but everything has to start somehow.
Peace & Goodness,