It’s a beautiful Spring morning: I am taking some time out, just sitting on a park bench in the unaccustomed sunshine. It’s a temporary haven, not quite private, but a welcome break and peaceful refuge before I return to the housework, computer and list of tasks for today. I can hear the distant sounds of people travelling to work, lorries reversing, vehicles finding their places in the car park – the air of purposefulness of a market day morning – but I choose instead to tune in to birdsong and the music of the wind in the branches overhead. Daffodils are coming out in patches on the grass, colourful primulas brighten the formal flowerbeds and the bare, grey trees show signs of red and green life as tiny buds form on the ends of their twigs. A few people walk past with hoods pulled up against the wind as clouds scud across the sky, but the breeze feels like velvet on my skin – and then…
tries to take my hat off with a gust. A flock of pigeons rises up from the grass, grey and white against the sky – exhilarating! Wow, for once I am allowing myself to take a moment to stop and breathe, pay attention to the details… My takeout coffee is not quite strong enough – and as a man cycles past, he calls out, ‘Av you got the time, love?’
No, not usually… I should make more of a habit of this! It’s only as I sit still that I realise… how tired I am. Where all around the sap is rising, I feel my sap is falling fast.
It is too easy to keep going, to push myself, to get into the habit of busyness: “what do I have to do next?” Someone prayed that ‘Martha stuff’ off me the other night – putting down the burdens of responsibility and choosing the better part. It is true I run the household and organise all our lives, and despite revelling in my role of ‘Air Traffic Controller’ (see March forth) I do often become anxious and distracted by many things. I will continue to honour my first century sister who recognised the Christ and made room for Him in her home (Jesus loved Martha and so do I! see this post). But I also want to learn from her bad habits! There is no condemnation of a certain personality type here, but a warning to be attentive to the rhythms of the Spirit.
‘The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit’ John 3v8.
I can hear it in the trees, a strong gust then a gentle whisper: it can’t be forced or even predicted, the invisible force that creates movement – or not. The Spirit is life and breath – in the same way He/She moves through our lives, we don’t know how: can I be still if You are still? Can I run when You run? Those who are born of Spirit hear the sound of it, sensitive to the ebb and flow of Life: a time to BE and a time to DO. If I am not listening carefully to that whisper, flowing with the rhythm of grace, I can easily get out of sync – stopping when I should go, keeping going when I should stop.
No wonder I need to be still – just to hear, to comprehend: where is the life today, how should I spend my energy? Do I have grace to push through or rest back? Am I paying attention to my body and heart? Am I missing the details all around me? Is it ebb or flow?