Rest

I don’t remember when I made this decision, but I decided not to do any work this weekend. I decided, instead, to rest. I had a sleepover with one of my best friends, I made myself eggs at midnight, I had a date with a four-year-old, I watched The Descendants, I began to make color-coded revision plans, I talked to my sister, I drove down I-80 to pick up another close friend, I went to church, and I had people over for dinner and made grits and green beans. It has been good, but I have discovered that rest takes quite a lot more effort than I’d thought.

I was not happy all weekend. I may even have cried and whined more than usual. I worried about my undone work and occasionally wondered if every hated me. I didn’t even have any good hair days. But I was unable to hide, to push my fears off till later. When you choose rest, you rather frighteningly give leave for the important things to become important, and for the urgent and its ilk to fade into the background. I was forced to admit the futility of my own action and inaction in the face of my God’s dying and rising.

I had to really listen to my friends, because there was nothing else to do. I had to listen to the spaces between their words, to feel their fears in my own gut. I had to sit alone in my own silence. I had to pray. It is easy to write, but I find it so hard to pray. When I pray there is no chance of impressing my audience, no chance for applause, only a dreadful promise that I will be loved, and I will be changed. This ripping feeling in my chest, I think, is resting in the Lord.

On Saturday I sat behind the pulpit in the chapel with little Tamagn, and read Dr. Seuss to him, he told me that he did not like “this house.” He was frightened that the robed figures in the stained glass windows would come alive and speak to him, and he was frightened of the sounds which he knew might swell from the pipes of the organ. I am sometimes afraid in God’s house too. I am afraid of the One who made me, who loves me though I betray Him. Such power and faithfulness is more than I can comprehend, so I busy myself with all other things. I pretend that the noise with which I surround myself keeps me from Him, when really it is my heart, sodden in its own fear.

But Jesus is awake and Jesus is alive. When I am silent, He shouts and it hurts. Those pipes and those bright figures in glass will not remain always still. The “great sloth heart” is moving. It knows it will find rest only in its Maker, and that “all else is trifling,” as the puritans pray. Because of Him, I write to you tonight with still hands and with raw newness in my heart.

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