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Learning To Sit Still


It’s an icy mess outside. We’ve been getting freezing rain at the house since last night, our version of the storm that has been pounding the Heartland over the last couple days. I’m watching as the rain falls, hits the window and almost instantly freezes, leaving icy fingers down the glass. Everything is coated with what looks like translucent glass, which makes for a picturesque scene. But it also makes doing anything outside almost impossible.

To top it all off, I was hit with a stomach bug over the weekend. Its been going around, and when you have 4 young kids who forget how to wash their hands, it’s almost a certainty it’ll show up in some form at our front door. Always does.

So I’ve been physically down for the last couple days. Watching the world freeze outside the window isn’t as peaceful a way to dwindle through this sickness as you might imagine. As a matter of fact its kind of terrible.


I’ve noticed something about myself over the last couple days. There’s a nervous energy flowing through me, and being stuck in the chair (the one closest to the bathroom, mind you) has created a kind of anxiety that seems to hum in my ears like electric wires. I want to do something, anything. And sitting here feels purposeless and impotent. A waste of time.

Since we moved, almost everyday has been filled with doing things. Organizing, woodworking, fixing the boy’s bunk bed, remodeling the wood shop, the bathroom, painting, cutting down trees, etc. You get the idea. We’ve been busy, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s healthy to work and to see progress, and there’s certainly plenty to do. Even now, as the winter weather digs in, we’ve been preparing and planning for all the things we want to accomplish in spring.

So it feels foreign to…just sit here. To do nothing.

I don’t think its supposed to be that way. Aren’t we supposed to take time to rest? To be intentional about it even. So why can’t I do that without feeling anxious?

I don’t have the answer to that. As a child, I used to wonder at how long the days seemed. The hours seemed to stretch on forever and there was no sight of where the day might end. Now I find myself very conscious of the clock and how little time there is. I’m always trying to cram as much into each hour as possible, making the most out of EVERYTHING. Being efficient. Does that have something to do with aging? I’ll be 40 in a couple of months, and I’m very much aware of how precious time is. I don’t know how much of it I have left. There’s so much I want to accomplish, and its this passion that fuels the flame burning inside of me everyday. To get up, to get dressed, and to engage the world. I was made to do things.

But I realize now that eventually I’ll reach the point where the wick is at its end. Eventually the candle will burn out, and perhaps all the things I’ve done won’t have been for nothing, but maybe they could have been more sustainable if I had just taken a few moment each week to rest. To enjoy the moments a little deeper. To find a place to just sit, and maybe watch the rain. Without guilt. Without fear.

Charles Spurgeon said: “Rest time is not waste time. it is economy to gather fresh strength…It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”

I need to learn how to do this.




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