When my eyelid started twitching, I knew my body was stressed.
“You can slow down,” I heard God say to me in a spiritual direction session.
That week, with the same tender concern Pastor Ruth said, “You don’t have to do everything.” But the train of responsibilities had already left the station. I had to complete what I promised to do. I couldn’t just stop and didn’t think God was asking me to.
In a podcast on nature, I heard a contemplative naturalist talk about how she loves movement and long hikes in the wilderness. She also stated the importance of sitting for a while among the trees.
I imagined doing that in the middle of a hike and felt my insides rebel. Then a thought came. What if you just sit for a few minutes?
So I looked for opportunities to sit down outside that seemed appealing. On a bike ride, I took my lunch and stopped to eat it surrounded by trees. Through them, I glimpsed the ocean and snow-capped mountains. As I ate my peanut butter and banana sandwich, a raccoon came out of the bushes across the street and trotted along the sidewalk. I wanted to call out to the young woman waiting for a bus a few feet away from the wild animal so she could see it too. But it would likely startle both creatures. A minute later, the raccoon disappeared into the bushes again, yet a sense of wonder remained.
The next day, I biked to visit a friend. Instead of trying not to be late, I planned to arrive ten minutes early, so I could rest at a nearby park. I’d like to say it was wonderful, and I heard God say something profound. It didn’t take long before I was fidgety and bored.
A few days later, I had a two-hour break around noon and planned to walk to the church and drop off the electric mixer my friend needed to prepare our monthly community meal. I wondered aloud if I should eat lunch before or after the errand. Fred suggested we pack our lunch, drop off the mixer, and enjoy a picnic in the shade. After we sat down, a toddler and his grandmother came along. We watched the little fellow test out the park’s exercise equipment while his grandmother stayed close by, patient and attentive.
One of the first things I heard God say to me when I began my contemplative journey was, “Just sit there and let me love you.” God and my body and loved ones are saying this to me again. And while I fidget and explore what it’s like to be still, I sense God with me, patient and attentive.
By the way, I noticed my eyelid stopped twitching.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
–Psalm 131:2 (NRSVUE)
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Eastertide Reflection 6
When I hear the same loving message from multiple sources, I sense God opening me to another resurrection. What have you heard lately in “surround sound”? What would it be like to picture God with you like a patient and attentive grandmother while you explore this loving invitation? What would it be like to hear God say to you, “Just sit there and let me love you.”?
A special shout out to my parents, Max and Heidi who turn 95 and 90 today! You two are amazing.
Credits and References:
“Raccoon” by Alex O’Neal. Used with permission.
Girl Seated on Hillside Overlooking the Water by Winslow Homer, 1878. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“I heart coffee” by jojo 77. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2023.
The unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2023. http://www.estherhizsa.com