Friday, January 13, 2012

Rare State

I woke up this morning at four. The faint light that made its way through our curtained windows was blue, but the house was dark. Fumbling my way through the house, down the stairs and through the hallways I found my computer. Its light blinked bright and I squinted. Would we have school today? All evening we had wondered as the forecasts of snow came. The snow fell first in a blinding fury and then lightly as if teasing.

I scrolled down the list to see if our county would be posted. Unashamedly I say I wanted our name to be on the list. A four day weekend would be mine if it were there. Nothing. Our name was not on the list. I went back to bed to await the 5:30 am alarm.

An hour and a half later I woke to my alarm. I knew I couldn’t hit the snooze this morning. My husband rose up and opened his computer. The screen light lit up our dark room and he scrolled down the pages once more. And our county’s name was on the list. An hour and half later it had been inserted in alphabetical order and we had a reprieve. I asked twice for confirmation. And then I scooted down into the covers and curled up and fell back asleep. Almost three hours later I woke.

I am still in my pajamas. My husband braved the cold and the roads and went to the store to purchase ingredients for his wonderful omelettes. And they didn’t disappoint—filled with ham and peppers and onions. That’s a treat from my normal yogurt and granola breakfast.

And now we are on our recliner couch reading and listening to the wind rattle against the windows. On their pillows the dogs lie at our feet curled in tight balls and snoring. And once again I listen to the sounds of a quietly working household: drawers opening, dryer rotating, and shower running. Outside the snow is swirling and the light is still blue, and I am at ease.

This is a rare state for me. Usually I am plowing forward with my mental list scrolling. Or I am moving from room to room attempting to create some kind of order even if it is only order I can detect. But this morning I am still.

I have been reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Crosswicks Journals. I am in the middle of the third one; there are four. I keep telling myself to slow down, read snippets and small sections, and savor. But her words and thoughts pull me along, beckoning me. And her words press in on my heart and I find that with the pressure comes out prayer. Sentence prayers. I will read a paragraph and before I even think what I am doing I am asking God to move in me. And there is this spontaneous blessing that just pours out to Him.

And isn’t this what good writing, a good story or a deep recollection should do? Would Madeleine be pleased that her words brought me to a place of blessing? a place of prayer?

Words she wrote thirty-five years ago remain relevant because they were infused with truth. Truth always remains relevant. And if the Spirit has been present during the writing, he will again be present in the reading. And through this series of books He has been very present.

The last six months have been a dry season. A season of schedule survival--simply attempting to survive my twenty-four cycle by paring down to what do I do next? What can I do to get to the next thing? And in the midst of this kind of daily survival you grow lean and edgy. Hungry.

I have been asking God to meet me in the midst of this. There seems to be no remedy for the scheduling right now. Very few options of adjustment, removal or rotation. But God is not limited by our options. He is not bound by the schedule we have enforced on ourselves. And I knew that if I asked to see Him in the midst of this taxing season He would show himself.

And show himself he has. Through words decades old. Through an author who is now with Him. Through a woman I admire. Through a spiritual mentor I have never met. And God knew. He knew what and who could speak to me in this season. He knew I would need a circle of quiet in the midst of this irrational season.

My God, who cares so much about me, has used Madeleine’s words to draw me back to his Word. Through her writing I search Scripture and attempt research—digging, delving, diving.

And so on this day, lest I forget what I learned during the Christmas Season, I am being still. During this season of schedule survival I have not done a very good job of taking care of myself. I have neglected what softens and shores me. Abandoned what anchors and connects me.

Now it is 12:30. I am still in my pajamas. I am pressed against my husband’s solid and warm side. Books strewn on the couch around me. Journal waiting. And I am at rest. The fury with which I usually meet a day has been tamed. The frenetic pace of my morning routine has slowed and I can hear my own heartbeat.

This morning has been a gift.




The Crosswicks Journal—four volumes

A Circle of Quiet


The Summer of the Great-grandmother


The Irrational Season


The Two-Part Invention


Madeleine L’Engle