Sunday, September 30, 2012
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is so much work to do, I work all day and still leave things undone. Now I am sick with a chest cold. Of course, it only makes school more challenging. I will have to disappoint someone. It can't be helped.
As a middle-aged student in seminary, I worry about burnout. I see the dangers of it in front of me all the time. I don’t exactly know how to avoid it but I have begun to realize that this is a dance. I need to bend with the wind, shelter myself from rain, enjoy small gifts, and take advantage of sunny days. I need to sleep and eat and walk, and remember joy. But I also have to somehow carve out a private sanctuary which stands apart from all this fussing and wrestling with spiritual things. I just haven’t figured it out.
I live in a less savory neighborhood north of a city now. While our small campus is quite safe, anything off campus requires a car. The air here is often muggy, buggy, full of pollen and mold, and hot. I am grateful for air-conditioning, but I am not outside most of the time. It’s just not that kind of place. Still, sometimes I walk evenings to gaze at a starry night.
Looking back, I realize that our time in the Appalachians was ordained. I was sent there so that I could learn to live deliberately, and to live fully, rather than always waiting to live. Recently, we returned for a day. I loved it all -- the beauty of the trail, the way my body felt in rhythmic movement, the pure air of water and stone falling into creek below. Coming back, down a blue wall of mountain at sunset, I stopped to watch sky turning pink and purple, white and blue, and to gaze at trees waving on slopes in late summer glory. I had forgotten how many greens there were on this earth.
I carry it all with me still. The land that grew into my bone is there, and the fellowship I found endures. I am made for permanence. Truth struck under my feet and shifted the ground of my soul again. Heaven awaits, where I will belong.
There is hope that I will finish and I will be whole.