It was easy to pick out Hadrian in the line-up of swimmers. The eight-year-old wore a life jacket and stood a foot or two shorter than the rest. Like those ahead of him, he waited for his turn to try the obstacle course that stretched the length of the pool.
Large blue and grey inflatable tubes, eighteen inches in diameter, were attached in parallel and perpendicular configurations with a slide at the far end. I watched one swimmer after another attempt to walk on water over this deceptively simple looking course. Nearly every person ended up losing their balance and falling in.
Then it was Hadrian’s turn. He dog-paddled out to the first tube and pulled himself onto it. Gingerly he got to his feet. He paused for a moment then stepped slowly onto one tube then another. When he felt his body waver, he paused until he regained his balance and then moved on, stepping and pausing along one and onto the next. Then he scrambled up and slid down the slide.
When he got out of the pool, my husband, Fred, gave him a high-five.
“How did you do it?” Fred asked.
“I got real still inside me,” Hadrian replied.
Hadrian’s words spoke to me. In the course of my day, I tackle one obstacle, and before I recover my balance, I’m onto the next. Perhaps this is why, at day’s end, I feel overwhelmed and just want to watch TV and eat. But the God who sees all this comes “disguised as my life” and invites me to pause between activities and get real still inside myself.
For me, that means taking a deep breath and opening myself to God’s love in the present moment, in whatever is before me.
Let me put that together with what I’ve learned so far since I entered this new land:
- God accepts me and loves me as I am.
- God wants me to love and care for myself–my whole self, including my body.
- To do that, I need to take time to rest in God’s love.
- Between activities, I need to regain my balance by pausing and resting in Love for a moment.
Hmm. Will this really make a difference to my life?
Well, it’s working for Hadrian.
I have stilled and quieted my soul.
–Psalm 131:2a (NIV 1984)
Questions for your Lenten pilgrimage:
- When was the last time you were still?
- How did it feel?
- What would it be like to return there regularly?
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Any social worker that is willing to do research in the area of shame and vulnerability, face her own stuff and talk about it has been up to much love mischief! Brené Brown is that person. I just watched her talk, “The Anatomy of Trust.” So helpful. Catch her Ted talks here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Brené Brown, you’re my hero.”