Those weeks — there are too many things to do, too many directions to go, emails flow in, text messages arrive, phone calls pull at us, needs hit like Dorian hit the East Coast — you know those weeks and those days. So do I.
Distraction in those times is like a masked intruder bringing fear and distress. Life along with our hearts gets splintered at such times. It’s a hamster on his wheel-type existence.
Last week, even while on vacation I could remember what that felt like. It was like even while breathing in the air of peace and pause, I could still sense that “intruder” breathing down my neck. It took discipline to come back to center, it took discipline to stop, to get rooted again.
It actually helped that I started vacation sick.
Who knew that could be helpful?
But, I ate a couple of hard boiled eggs Monday, our first day, at lunch that it turned out were bad. The result was I felt increasingly worse throughout that day and began to throw up that night for a couple hours beginning at around 630 pm. Hard start, but a true break from the reality of life in the fast lane and a hard stop (at the toilet) that had me just focused on one thing (getting rid of the culprit) and prayer.
It was a simple prayer but still prayer.
The next day, tender but lots better, was a rest day for me. This was a good beginning for a week away for it performed the equivalent of a computer reboot on my system.
It seems in our lives we need to have hard stops. We need times to encounter a reboot in the operating system. We need a space when we step away and get off the “wheel.”
God gave us the sabbath. It is an automatic reboot if we come into worship among others, put down the phone, say no to distractions and simply settle into the opportunity to be shifted BACK into first gear. It allows a stop in the middle of the madness.
At the start of the week it was two bad eggs that helped me reconnect with Jesus in a whole new way (!) and at the end of the week, worship did it for me again.
We attended a little Episcopal church in Waldport and there encountered Jesus in the liturgy of worship. The music was unfamiliar (I didn’t know a song). I found it was beautiful to listen to those around me singing. Having forgotten my glasses, I couldn’t see to sing along. The woman in front of us had spent 26 years in the chorus for the Portland Opera Company. That woman SANG! The readings, the message, the prayers all transported me into a place of stillness that stuck with me. Distractions ceased. The “wheel” stilled. And I met Jesus.
I don’t know what all is happening in your life, but this week friend, return to worship, enter community, pause in life, put down the distractions and be rooted anew in the Jesus who loves you a bunch and just wants to whisper that love into your life.
Here’s to life in Jesus alongside of you!
PS: I can guarantee one thing — to come into worship with an expectation of meeting Jesus will accomplish that. He will be there for you. Make that hard stop this week, so you don’t have to experience it first as I did, at the toilet bowl.