From Mike Yaconelli’s Messy Spirituality:
Rest is the ultimate humiliation, because in order to rest we must admit we are not necessary, that the world can get along without us, that God’s work does not depend on us. Once we understand how unnecessary we are, only then might we find the right reasons to say yes. Only then might we find the right reasons to decide to be with Jesus instead of working for him.
I like to work. I like to *do* things. But sometimes I forget that the most important thing I can do is absolutely nothing. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I am not a machine.
I love this quote, because it reminds me that I don’t keep the world spinning. If I’m honest with myself, I realize that the splash I make in the pond of life isn’t really even that huge. It’s always the ripple effects that create the most impact. But have you ever noticed that it’s not necessarily the strength or the speed of the throw that creates the ripples? It’s a million different factors, including the angle, the gravitational pull, the stillness of the water.
If the water is raging and tossing, the ripple effect is negligible. It’s just one tiny bump in a sea of frothy madness. But if the water is still, a pebble can create an effect that goes on for ages.
Too often, I act as though the force of my throw will increase the ripple more than the stillness of the water. I allow my soul, my heart, my spirit to rage and toss – and when the Divine tosses anything good into that water, it goes wild, not really making any impact at all.
But when I rest…when I quiet myself down, and really pause in the midst of life to remember that it is the state of my heart that matters as much as the actions that create motion…those are the moments when the smallest stone will cause effects I could never dream of.
I’m not responsible for the world. I’m responsible for me.
And when I’ve been busy, when I’ve been running crazy, these are the times when the Divine calls to me, celebrating my work; but also inviting me back into the Divine presence and rest. So, I think I’ll enter into it for a while, and allow myself to find peace, restoration, and fresh life.
Mark 6:30-31 (NIV)
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Hebrews 4:9-11a (NIV)
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.
(Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.)Read More
Have you noticed that we don’t really have time or patience anymore? People, I mean. In general. We run ourselves ragged, exhausted. But at the same time, we crave the burnout. We crave the incessant busy-ness of our worlds. We thrive on drama because it gives us something to talk about. We can all be good conversationalists as long as we have something dramatic, bizarre, or strange going on. We have lost the art of making simple, meaningful conversation.
Somehow we have changed. Unless we’re hipsters or armchair philosophers sitting around drinking our particularly particular beverages and pontificating broadly about the world’s ills, few of us take the time to engage in thorough-going intellectually stimulating conversation. Discussions about politics dribble into ‘he-said-she-said’ criticism and blame for all the world’s problems. If we even acknowledge world affairs, it’s only to talk about which side we’re on. Faith, history, philosophy, art, and music have become politically incorrect. They have become taboo by nature of their requirements. They require tension and doubt and willingness to be wrong. It’s rare today to find a conversation partner without their iPhones or tablets. The beauty and mystery of the mind is losing sway as cultural memory drowns softly and swiftly in a sea of technological advances.
This post was part of the 300words experiment. Since I usually took one day off for ‘Sabbath’, there were times I would write 600 words about a particular person. This lovely woman has been in my life for over fifteen years, and plays an integral part in my story.
As you can tell by the date-stamp, this post is early on in my exploration of writing about myself. It’s campy, and a bit overly enthusiastic. But I learned about myself writing about her. I think in many ways that practice here is making my writing more perfectly me. Sure, this is all over the place, but it’s true. So I’ll freshen it up, and perhaps provide a few more details about this moment, then we’ll see what we can see.
The first time I saw her, I must admit, my perception was a bit skewed. Now, that probably had to do with the fact that I was in some of those ‘college experimental’ times, and the reality was that the whole world was very pretty, extraordinarily shiny, and hyper colourful. Take that as you will. I was sitting with a friend at the weekly Saturday party at the Woolsey House in Berkeley (known for its attraction of Goths, dosers, drinkers, Rocky fans, and various other non-traditional party people). I looked up and saw a woman emerge from the kitchen in a long flowing dress, and I thought two things. First, she looked like an angel. Second, she looked sad. I wasn’t sure if she was real, so I asked my friend, “Who’s that? She’s so pretty but she looks so sad!” He responded, “That’s Faith. She is a little sad.” So my instant response was, “Well, then we should fix that.” So we did. I never would have imagined that evening that fixing that would involve a sneaky undercover operation to break into her previous apartment in order to steal a cat, or a princess and the pea bed that would be halfway to the ceiling in a small apartment, or all the various other adventures that we went on, but it did.
As time went on, as it always does, we began to go separate ways. She got all responsible and I went a bit mad. We would bump into each other at various times with mutual friends, but I can still remember the first time I eversaw her fire-dance. Faith is an exquisitely and exceptionally beautiful woman, with a striking figure and some of the most long, amazing hair you’ve ever seen. When she lights those poi on fire, it’s a hypnotic thing. It was a friend’s wedding, and the evening was full of life and love and friendship. And then Faith – who had seemed very distant, started to dance. It was as if the fire had a life of its own. At times it would send little flickers of itself off into the night sky, to float up and away. At other times, she would be surrounded by a blazing halo of the retinal after-burn of the flames. But it reminded me of that beautiful, sad lady I first saw. It reminded me of how I knew the moment that I saw her that I loved her and wanted her to be happy.
When she came to Dublin, we had so many good adventures. It was like time had rewound and all those years had come racing back. And I remember sitting in Doolin, in McGann’s Pub, just laughing and enjoying each other. And having one too many pints. And having to saunter vaguely homewards with Wingnut the cat. And we looked up at the stars and the moon, and the world between us was right all over again.