It is a beautifully quiet, sunny Sunday morning at the beginning of my favourite month. Summer is in bloom around me, yet July still carries the promise of more to come – unlike August which always seems to be bloated with its lushness, fading in the descending sun, heading for the fall. Here I stand on the cusp of the year, on the top of the mountain, surveying the panoramic view and savouring the sound of silence: it is BLISS…
Actually it is quite hard to pause after such a hectic month – adrenaline would prefer to carry me forward. It is encouraging to think of a time of hope and change ahead and we have a lot of excitement to look forward to in July… yesterday we planned our long anticipated European driving tour to Tuscany and back! For the next couple of weeks before that I have a few things in the diary and this whole house purchase thing to organise and Martin is busy at work too: it’s what you might call ‘life to the full’. I am grateful and mostly feeling happy, but also quite tired and often nervous about the precarious pinnacle upon which we are perched. What if Sam gets ill again? Don’t go there…
Yet again – again, again! – I am called back to rest. Without peace within I simply cannot live, cannot cope, cannot even decide what to do today. Rushing blindly forward just leads to inner turmoil, even if yesterday’s washing hasn’t been hung up to dry and those mortgage forms are still waiting to be completed… STOP.
How do you live? Do you have a ‘to do’ list and follow it? How do you decide what goes on it? Do you just do what you do every day, or what is written in your diary – or whatever you feel like doing? That’s what Sam does! It’s impossible to get him to do anything he doesn’t want to do and he will change his mind at the last minute about what that is: we stopped trying to plan things with and for him a long time ago – it’s just too stressful! Just before leaving the house to board a train to see his sister he would turn round and say, “People are always making me do things I don’t want to do”! Oh dear… Well, now he is out of sight he is mostly out of mind, free to make his own choices in his own time, living his own way. That is as it should be. He has been brought to a complete halt by circumstances anyway: he has no money and his computer has finally had to go in to the menders! He and Jessa are probably ‘shooting zombies’ or watching a DVD this morning: I am glad I don’t have to know.
I want to live out of my innermost being, I want to flow with the energy the Spirit gives – that is the most satisfying way to live, where days are full of grace and ease, when I know His pleasure. So where is that wind blowing today? For the last 4 weeks I have been learning to sail a dinghy on Rutland Water. I have learned that sailing is pretty much all about the wind – where it is coming from and how to trim the sails to use it, whether to beat, run or reach, tack or gybe. Turning ‘head to wind’ brings the boat to a complete stop, which is pretty frustrating when you are desperately trying to keep going: you just can’t steer when you are stationary – I found that a very interesting lesson about being guided as we move forward! This Friday I sat still on several occasions for minutes at a time as having been ‘steaming’ along in one direction I tried to change tack. I was pushing on the tiller, beginning to turn – then left waiting for something to happen, trying to work out if the wind had shifted round, finding myself becalmed. It turns out there is a real art to tacking smoothly through the wind and changing direction – not to mention the perils of gybing in a gust and ending up under the boat!
Well, I may feel the wind in my life has suddenly dropped, but I do know I need this pause today to regain my strength and poise – we are not very good at making the most of the day of rest! At the start of a new week, a new month, a new phase it is good to stop. Yes here I am, standing at those crossroads I mentioned in Reality checkpoint, surveying the scene, ‘asking for the good way’. As Diane pointed out to me, that lamp post in Cambridge could be said to stand between ‘knowlege’ (the acclaimed university) and ‘hard work’ (the mill of Mill Rd) which are both forms of man’s effort – and the reality is that I am not able to ‘make’ anything happen: I just have to stand and wait for the Lord.
So Jessa’s immigration dilemma, the house purchase, all the questions and challenges with their accompanying nervousness – even the delay of the newspaper feature we have been promised – have to be brought to heel. I am more than grateful that in looking back and looking forward there is absolutely nothing stagnant or stalemate about this pause. Rather this moment in time is pregnant with all the things I am gestating while waiting, in expectation of all that will be birthed in the coming months.
And the timing is entirely in the hands of the Lord. So ‘Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit’ Galatians 5v25