Beside the creek in the cool of the evening
I have joy.
For many years I could not say that. The best I could do was say, “I’ll be happy when…
when this course is over,
when I have a driver’s license,
when I am married,
when this baby is born,
when tax season is over,
when the swelling goes down,
when I get my Dad settled in his new home,
when the bills are paid,
when the house is clean and organized,
when my kids are doing well,
when their bills are paid…”
There was always a reason to postpone enjoying the moment, something that still needed improvement, some potential disappointment that needed guarding against.
I used to think that when I managed to finish everything on the job list I could reward myself with feeling a little joy.
I rarely finished the to-do list -and never finished the worry list. That list I took to bed with me.
Jesus said his burden was light.
I lumbered from burn-out to burn-out and laboured under thick layers of guilt.
In a dream, the Lord showed me a heavy suitcase. It was full of things that needed prayer. He said sometimes I needed to set it down. It would wear me out if I carried it all the time. Sometimes I needed to leave it with him, walk away and enjoy the scenery.
In a way, that is why I took up photography and painting. They make me pay attention and become more aware of beauty. The evening light does not wait until the paperwork is done and the hedge is clipped and all the hungry people in the world are fed and all the sick are healed.
Sometimes on this journey we need to leave the heavy stuff and the “whys” in his care and sit by the stream in the cool of the evening and allow our souls to be restored. Right here, mid-crisis, in the hidden grottos of the valley, with all of the threats and fears and opposition looking on like jealous, ravenous beasts, God prepares a place of rest and safety and refreshing for us.
I am learning (slowly) to set the suitcase down, step into the joyful freshness of God’s presence and allow him to restore my soul -in that infinitely tiny and infinitely spacious moment called “now.” That’s where the battle is won.
Thank you, Lord. You are good.