Themes emerge each vacation. Last year vital ‘what next’ questions needed to be addressed. This year ‘rest’ seems to be at the heart of my experience. Just rest. I came into vacation weary. Very weary. It’s been a year of change, delicately balancing new challenges with past responsibilities. Thus far, I’m feeling pretty rested. Adequate sleep. Lots of down time. Exercise. Plenty of reading. We have visited family, worshipped with monks and now rest easily at the beautiful home of a friend in Door County, Wisconsin. On Sunday we worshipped. It was a community church in Fish Creek, far removed from big church suburban expectations. It was cozy and real and rural. In the long run it’s probably not my cup of tea but in the present moment I sensed the presence of God in the people and their worship.
I realize that I crave both variety and sameness. I need predictable patterns to tame my wanderlust tendencies. Perhaps that’s why I looked forward to set prayer times at the monastery. Perhaps, such times need to be incorporated into my regular patterns back in Chicago. Stopping long enough, at regular intervals, to remind myself of divine commitments, might prove helpful. Perhaps it is a partial cure to the ‘hurry sickness’ that plagues my soul. The truth is that ‘hurry’ must carry its own reward because I have mastered its every nuance. Could it be that I bore easily and when bored become dismissive of slowing down? That dismissive attitude is perilous to my well being.
But I love variety. I love the sights and sounds of something new, something that leaps up and surprises me with joy and delight. An introvert by nature I can draw too far into myself and lose the ability to embrace the wonder of all that God has created. When I allow myself to be released from my introspection I discover something fresh and new that breathes life into my rut strewn existence.
And thus the life-long tug of war. I am pulled in one direction to stability and a sense of sameness and pulled in another to whatever is over the next hill. Stability and adventure are not mutually exclusive although at first glance they may appear to be. They actually work well in tandem. Too much of one or the other leads to a precarious imbalance.
In my journal this morning I wrestled with this life struggle. It is a ongoing battle for me. How do I learn to be content with the ‘who’ God has created me to be without losing the vital ‘what next’ missional expression of my being? If truth be know, I’ve never been content with the ‘who’ that I am. Introverted, by nature, the shadow side of myself is too easily led into a never ending self-examination of sins and failing which often creates in me a haunting negativity. It is not a healthy pattern. It’s good to be aware. It’s not wise to live believing that my shadow side ruminations will bring the healing only Jesus can offer. He reminds me to be faithful to the present while He takes care of my past, healing its darker side and allowing the good memories to nourish me in the here and now. In the faith filled present He will also plant dreams that stir my missional desires.
The movement of faith is inward, then outward, and inward again for reflection, and then outward once more. In and out. Out and in. In this hokey-pokeyish dance of the Spirit life is found.