Monday, January 25, 2016

Less Magic, More Tending (#SmallWonder Link-up)


“I think I was hoping today would be some kind of magical time of rest and renewal,” I said to the gathered circle of participants as we reflected together at the end of our day of silent retreat.  There were several smiles and at least one good snort as I paused. 

They all knew the kind of month I had.  Six trips to the pediatrician as one child after another fell ill with a viral fever that ran high for days before morphing into a bacterial infection.  Then another round of strep for my oldest boy and the pressure of hunting for an ENT to address big-picture concerns.  Plus, I was working full-time, stumbling through lectures I hadn’t so much as glanced at in seven years.  Is it any wonder I was sick too?

“It wasn’t,” I continued. 

I tried everything I could think of.  Settling into the quiet farm house, I read a little, prayed a little and drank hot tea in a sunlit window.  I even tried for an afternoon nap. 

It was a miracle I made it to the retreat at all. 

Secretly, though, I’d been hoping for more than a little magic, more than the miracle I got. 

I wanted to come home with some good writing, a poem or two to share here on the blog or, in the least, the beginnings of a post.  I didn’t just want rest, I wanted productivity in a different direction than the one I’d been running in all month long. 

But you can’t go from 90 mph to 0 in six hours flat.  An object in motion tends to stay in motion and the time and energy needed to slow down AND shift gears can’t be underestimated.  How could I be so naïve as to think I could unwind AND be productive in such a short period of time?

This is what I’ve been thinking about in the days since as I try to keep the fires burning at work and home, in heart and head.  I’ve longed to bear fruit here in my writing this month, it’s been painful to let it slide.  But a plant can’t bear fruit on command – the vine must be tended, each season endured.  And, for a few more days at least, I’ve committed my labor toward teaching and finishing strong and well.  

By Friday I pledge to be done with my J-term class, papers and tests graded and returned.  And next week I plan to begin the slow unwinding, the slow turning back again toward the many things I love.  The extra money from teaching has been a much needed relief this month, to not be anxiously watching the bank account for overdraft notices is a gift.  But I’m eager now and longing to return to tending my writing life, growing the deep roots and sturdy branches and, yes, bearing fruit. 

Thank you for sticking with me this month, #SmallWonder friends, as we celebrate one year of #SmallWonder posts!  Some of you have asked about a button for the link - I know there's been some buttons shared, but I've lost track of them.  If you have a #SmallWonder button we could use, could you share it in the comments, please?  Thanks!

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Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.

What if we chose to deliberately look for the small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God? 

That's my proposal - that we gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days.  

You're invited to link-up a brief post about a small moment of wonder.  Don't worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right - you're welcome to come as you are.  

While you're here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.  

3 comments:

  1. You are not alone, Kelly, in what we expect from ourselves or from God, that we would become some kind of superhuman that doesn't need to rest and rejuvenate before we release what's inside.
    I always look for your words and trust that God will give you grace for this season and grace abundant to rest as you come back into the next one.
    (I've got some Small Wonder 'buttons'I think on my other laptop. Will look for them later....)

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  2. Congratulations on the milestone here, and also on the milestone of returning to "normal." Blessings!

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  3. Wise words here, Kelly. These particularly caught my eye: "The time and energy needed to slow down AND shift gears can’t be underestimated. How could I be so naïve as to think I could unwind AND be productive in such a short period of time?" Oh, how often have I set expectations too high to be achieved! God didn't set them--I did. Praise God for his gracious guidance, leading me away from constant productivity and into times of rest. May your days of unwinding next week deeply refresh your spirit, Kelly!

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