No TV, no computer access and limited phone access were my privileged gifts this past weekend. My husband and I were able to get away for a weekend for the first time in several years all by ourselves. Through the kindness and generosity of a dear friend, we were able to use a charming river house near the Chesapeake Bay for two blissful days of pure relaxation. Just being able to look out the windows and see tranquil water and sea birds catching fish instantly changes a mind frame from stress and exhaustion to rest and reassurance.
I’m not an avid movie watcher, but there is one line in “Eat, Pray, Love” that particularly appealed to me. “You Americans need to learn the art of nothingness.” In our rushed, busy everyday life, doing nothing is almost looked upon as being sinful or certainly evokes guilt for not doing something. In reality, in “busyness” satan has us right where he wants us…too busy to pray, too occupied to spend time with our Savior, too distracted to focus our eyes on the Author of our faith, too frustrated to work out what’s really going on in our lives. A welcomed weekend away from all that clamors around me forced me to unwind and to take advantage of the simplistic blissfulness of rest.
Sitting in a chair on the pier with the sun shining, breeze blowing and water rippling enabled me to slow down long enough to just breathe in God’s goodness. Watching an egret catch and swallow a fish whole caught me by surprise. Having a local dog and cat join me on the pier just added more to the “doing nothing” phase. Listening to the fish jump in the water all around me brought pure delight. I felt like I was just melting into the chair when my body finally gave in and allowed itself to really relax.
In the afternoon quietness as I continued to gaze upon the water, I was gently reminded that Jesus walked upon the water and willingly held out His hands to Peter. Of all the disciples, I probably relate to Peter the most, trying so hard to be faithful but moments of doubt creep in and slam me before I even realize what’s happened. In those quiet moments, Jesus reassured me He does walk on the water, and if He can walk on water He can certainly take care of me.
Two days of reading, sleeping and cooking when I wanted to and not by a schedule was a blessing beyond what words can convey. As we headed home, I felt rested, reassured and restored. Circumstances of life did not change while we were gone, and we came home to Daniel still being in one of his “bad” cycles. Money did not miraculously show up in our checkbook, and the house did not auto-clean itself. Things around us have not changed, but my attitude and my trust level has changed. It took literally getting away from all of it to change my perspective. The art of “nothingness” is a gift to be cherished and savored.
Don’t ever take for granted the simple everyday task of your child getting up to go to school. Such an ordinary task, get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, grab your lunch, your book bag and go out the door. Oh sure, your child might miss a day or two now and then with the typical stomach bug or cold, but usually they’re right back on track and going full steam ahead within a couple of days. The stark reality of the reason I have not blogged in awhile is because I am heavily grieving for our son who continues to battle a chronic neurological disorder that has everyone baffled. This October marks a full year since he has been able to attend school on a full-time basis. He has not been able to attend a full week of school since last October. I was oh so hopeful it would be different this school year with a neurologist who advocates for him and a new medication; but the downward spiral continues. This nerve-wracking disorder shows no mercy; he’s either awake, alert and living a typical teenage life or he’s out for the count and sleeping for hours on end with no arousal. We’re going to have to make some solid, but difficult decisions about his education soon. I’m trying to be strong for my family and my husband is trying to cope, but honestly, we are exhausted, spent out and in survival mode. Then, throw in my hubby’s fall out of the bed at 2:30 am and six staples in his head later! If I wasn’t so exhausted I’d probably be laughing my head off!
Still, we move on, we trust and we keep going. We appreciate every single moment of Daniel being awake and we are so grateful for the days he is able to go to school. Every day I ask God to show me His goodness and He does. Little things like someone letting me go in front of them in line at the grocery store are confirmations of God’s goodness. I still cry at the drop of a hat, but there’s an underlying acceptance now of knowing this is just the way things are right now. This trial will eventually pass and my prayer is that everyone will see, without a doubt, God’s goodness, His holiness and His healing power. Right now, God is silent, but I’ve walked with him long enough to know He will eventually speak and will intervene in His perfect timing. When you grieve, sometimes you just have to allow yourself to feel the pain, meet it head on and roll in it. I’m definitely rolling in it right now. Our worldly society minimizes grieving to a few cliches and then expects everyone to return to work with a smile on their face. In the real world of being a believer in a fallen world, it just doesn’t happen that way. Just because I’m a believer does not mean every day will be wonderful and gushing over with joy and love for others. Yes, I acknowledge that some days are downright awful, horrible and very long, but I also have a Savior holding my right hand all the time. These are the times I have to cling to His promises and just hang on. No, this is definitely not what I imagined would be happening to our youngest child in high school. The money I had hoped to put away for retirement is being spent on medical bills and groceries. The luxury of going out to a restaurant is such a rarity now that it’s a huge celebration if we go out to eat….with our coupons in hand!
My joy is coming, plain and simple, it is coming. It may come tomorrow or it may take years from now, but it is coming. God is good and His goodness will prevail even when I don’t think I’ll make it another step at times. In the meantime, I will keep looking for joyous moments and keep believing. In this world of instant gratification, delayed gratification of coming joy is to be upheld and appreciated. I’m hanging on with every fiber of my being because my joy is coming.