(SLOW Word attached to the bottom, dear friends. It’s such a privilege to listen to the Word with you right here every Monday and Thursday!)
We’re in the middle of a mini-series on SLOW living right here at AThirstforGod.com.
Find Part 1 and 2 here: Making a Plan for Rest and Your Brilliant Simple Plan to Create Calm in the Chaos.
Here is Part 3:
I needed a day off. I could feel the rising crankiness, the need to gaze quiet. I had created Monday’s schedule to fill, refresh, to build something worth standing on for another week, a Sabbath.
There was just this one other thing to fit in: the oil change. No problem, I thought. But the voice on the other line said he only had one appointment left…smack dab in the middle of my well-planned day. With annoyance, he grumbled, “Ma’am, is that the time you want, or not?” I had been dreaming of a hike around Slippery Rock River, skipping stones into the current, a slow saunter around a bookstore, even a Target run. Noon? I could feel the whine rising. The car would take at least an hour and a half and the day’s schedule was now smeared.
We would have to be content on our own familiar streets. No adventures today.
I pushed the button for the garage door to open. “Xavier, we’re going a walk. You lead.” Exercise always clears my head. He swung his thin four-year-old leg over his muddy BMX, still balanced with training wheels. I held onto his black leather bike seat and pushed him up the short hill toward town until he could pedal forward himself.
I had lost the heart to lead: “Left or Right, Xavi?””Left!” he steered down the curb between the two white lines. Again and again he pedaled north taking us beyond our normal boundaries, one block after another, straight down Beaver St. We landed at the bottom of the hill in Edgeworth in a triangle of a park, huge oaks, small brook, inviting child-size stone bridge. Sometimes you don’t need to leave town to see new kingdoms.
We were in unfamiliar territory in our own town. We scrambled down stone walls and sat next to the creek. He combed through the pebbles with his fingers, then piled them together to build a dam. Running up and down the creek, He tried to stay on the dry sidelines. Every few minutes he looked back to see if I was watching, eyes shining. I watched the magic gather and spread. Under the bridge, he spread out his arms, a strong man holding it up. I sat down in the middle of the joy fully immersed in the present.
My own stuck stream of delight was undammed by entering into NOW, senses alive, scrambling on rocks, listening to water grate over pebbles, breathing in the freshly mown grass. Simple, I know. But I wondered, how often am I truly Here, Now?
Back at home, I took out the dollar-store bottle of bubbles and the “fancy” camera. Just last year he could barely blow a bubble, more soap would spill on the concrete than spin through the air.
As he blew into the wand, I held my breath. How often do I live life shrouded in a tangle of emotions and lists written long, pounding hard after life, when Life can be blown up full right here in the present?
I’ve always wanted to be one of the fully present people. Available. Paying attention. Listening. An “icon” of Julian of Norwich hangs above my writing desk, she who was cloistered in Norwich’s cathedral, present to the Presence. Anchored. So often I spin dizzy through life missing the present as I reach out anxiously toward the future.
The present is as temporary as a bubble floating upwards and all we have is the gift of now to enjoy, to taste and see that God is good.
And I know: He is almost five and I want to memorize the surprised giggles, the smell of his sweaty blond head after he plays, the shine of his eyes as he twists around and searches for mine. I want to live thankful in the Now.
In this ordinary, magical life I’ve been given, I want to be marked “present.”
Share with us one of your favorite ways to be fully present. On the back porch with your first cup of coffee? Rocking that little one to sleep? Deep in the arms of your Love?