I received a wonderful gift today, wrapped in the ordinary motion of picking up a ringing phone. A dear friend I had not spoken to in about six weeks called me and she is one of those rare ones with whom there is an instant connection. Which is good– she has precious little boys at home with her and we are usually breathlessly connecting as fast as we can before her full attention is needed with them again. I’m sure a transcript of a conversation of ours would read hilariously– we are all over the map and sometimes can’t figure out just how we got where we ended up.
Among many other things today we talked about the idea of carefully pursuing soul care. Her husband is in ministry and is currently on a sabbatical. He has good mentors that are helping him choose carefully those activities and pursuits that will nourish his soul and his relationship with God and be restorative, as opposed to more utilitarian. We celebrated for a few moments the gift of being able to do that, and how counter-cultural the whole notion is, before we moved on to other topics.
But as often happens with something from our conversations, this bit stayed with me throughout the day, and challenged and nudged me.
I talk a good game about being more about BE-ing than DO-ing, but how often do I cheerfully describe a day as “productive,” using that as a synonym for “good?”
I believe sincerely in the value of my role at home full time, but is my checked-off list a dam against a tide of “and what do you do?” questions?
Why is it so hard to rest in God and take the walk, stitch the pattern, read the book or have the conversation that waters my thirsty thirsty soul, when I can’t come back and write down something I did faster, better, more?
The temptation is nearly irresistible, to total up all our doings and make them the sum of our worth, and try to feed our hunger with all we have done. And there is much that must be done and accomplished– children to be washed and fed, laundry and letters and bills and all the stuff of life that is good. I’m just running on empty when any list of accomplishments snuggles up too close to my identity.
But God surprises with what satisfies. Today the soul of this good day was best felt over a telephone line down the mountain, a circuitous conversation that wasn’t on anybody’s list.