On slowing down…

I can’t just flip a switch and be on vacation. I need a gradual withdrawal from the pressures and demands of every day life. I need to walk it off. So this weekend I am taking a deliberate lap. Some highlights include…

IMG_5346Stillness– My sanctuary lies at the end of a very long driveway. It feels like holy ground. The trees protect my heart and life from the view of passersby, and I am wrapped in stillness and rest. My environment provides the space, but it takes time for my heart to slow to the rhythm of rest. At first, my thoughts are loud and fast clamoring for attention and action. I practice observing, my thoughts and my feelings. It is clear that I am scared. Here in the quiet, I can hear my fear and anxiety and finally the tears, as I release the tension and find the stillness that comes from resting in His presence.IMG_5336

Herbs– Yesterday I walked into my over grown garden, fought back the weeds and found beautiful herbs. I gathered an armful of flat leaf parsley, huge basil leaves and chives. The smell! When I go too fast, its like I shut down all non essential senses. I stop noticing the beautiful moments like fireflies or Sunday mornings. I don’t notice the feel of the silky blanket as it slides across my skin, I miss the sound of the birds down the lane. It is simple things I crave, the sizzle of the pan, the fragrance of the chopped herbs waiting on the board, friends gathering for a meal.

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Weeds– There are weeds all through my garden. Weeds growing alongside the garlic and lettuce  threaten, but have not overcome. I will deal with them, but not quite yet. There will be time for the heavy lifting of the garden, but this morning I will simply observe the beauty and the work ahead. My heart must look like my garden. There is good fruit growing in my heart, faith, love, hope… but there are also weeds which threaten and crowd. I must tend both my garden and my heart this week.

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People– When my pace gains momentum, it is hard to shift from getting things done, to getting to know. Spending time this weekend with a loved one, makes me realize that the space between us has grown wide in our busyness. The coming together is not easy… but it matters. We bump into each other, reorienting ourselves to accommodate time and growth. We try to be careful but there are moments of pain. We are family, so we will continue to work at this, but my heart yearns for a more sustained connection that this season does not support.

IMG_5345This vacation won’t produce sun soaked photos of family and friends on a tropical beach somewhere, instead it will produce a more grounded and whole human. This isn’t so much a vacation getaway, as a retreat for the purposes of restoration, recovery, and recalibration. Life in this season demands a lot, so I need to tend my heart, my soul, my body, and my strength so that I am up for the task. Sometimes, the only way forward is to withdraw for a while …. I need to obey the simple command to “be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.

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