Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Napping House (I Don't Have A War Room)


For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.  Isaiah 30:15

I sat in the little house with the oil lamp lit, computer in place.  Every coherent thought was echoed by an equally incoherent refrain of fatigue.

I’m so tired. I’m so tired.  I’m so tired. 

The words took on a rhythm, like breathing, while I struggled to work my way through Sunday’s sermon. 

Meanwhile, the dog, who technically isn’t allowed in my office, snoozed lightly on another chair.  The black cat lay in the sunshine just outside the office door, flirting with sleep, as cats do.

I have three hours of childcare this week.  Three hours to throw together a sermon, build a power point, harvest the word.  And I was only an hour in with nothing near an outline. 

But, come ten o’clock, instead of putting on a third pot of coffee, I pulled the cushion off of yet another chair and threw it on the floor.  A pillow followed, then a blanket and, with gentleness, my own body curled like a dog in its bed. 

The dog, whose eye’s slitted open at my commotion, hopped down, tail wagging.  Curious, she ambled over, sniffing at my back, as if to ask, “You ok?” Satisfied with what her nose replied, she hopped back into her chair with ease. 

I fell asleep in under five and woke a half hour later. 

//

An elderly friend of mine has operated a retreat house for the past twenty years.  People often speak in hushed tones about the holiness of that space, commenting in awe about its prayer-soaked walls.  And that’s what I envisioned for this little house of mine.  

But more than writing, praying or listening, this room has been filled with rest. 

I keep a pillow in the cupboard, not a prayer book.  Soft fleece blankets hang over the backs of my chairs, enough cushion and comfort to make a bed for one. 

If I can be honest, perhaps I thought this house would be a place where I would build my own kingdom out of words and prayers and God would bless it because of my effort. 

But the opposite is true. 

In my little house, I cast my efforts aside.  

I lay down on a mat on the floor, like a child at nap time.  

Here I'm vulnerable and weak, owning my need.  

I rest in the grace of God who doesn’t need my good deeds.  God who says, "Come you who are weary."  Here I enter into the kingdom of God, where the last is first and a little child leads the way.

//

With the hazy fog of sleep slowly dissipating around me, I sat again in my curved black chair.  The passage was there still, waiting.  But the chant of my fatigue, the undertow of exhaustion, had lifted.  The sermon came, slowly like a gift, like treasure at the end of a hunt. 

The dog watched, unfazed by my strange human ways.  When I left the little house to head inside again, the cat followed, meowing, as if to say, “Well, I thought you needed a nap!”

      

4 comments:

  1. Hey kelly, I just love your words, even though our journeys are unique, it is precisely what God has been teaching me. I remember days of striving to pray, remembering that old saying "read your bible pray everyday and you will grow." But the more I "prayed" our loud and in fashion as most people do, the more angry and worn out I became until God told me, to rest, He doesnt need my words. He doesnt need me to pray for the needs, He already has taken care of them. SO now I rest, I stare out the window as I love to do and sense such Holy Communion and inner change as I have never experienced it before and I realise how much more intimate and swet my relationship is with my Saviour now that I have learned to rest. Such sweetness and such grace! Many blessings Aliyah

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  2. Those Isaiah words are packed with power and you heeded them well. Resting and listening are always a good choice.
    I sighed and settled in with your words...
    Beautiful.

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  3. Your house of rest reminded me of how God dealt with Elijah, seeing to his physical needs for sleep, food, and water before the still, small voice came.

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  4. I love this so much! I have learned (and re-learned!) the power and reward of living a yeilded life, giving way to rest and sabbath when it calls to me! Less productivity on the outside maybe - but oh how much work we get done on the inside! Just lovely, Kelly!

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