The last couple of weeks have been a grim reminder to me of how easy it is to get too busy. One way this has come home to me is that I became ill. I have had a very busy winter balancing transition ministry with home and family responsibilities. Many days each week have entailed 12-hour days — especially when I’m doing pastoral ministry work on-site. At the same time, I have tried to maintain a fairly regular exercise regima playing squash. I was looking forward to some time off to travel to Boston for our daughter’s participation in the great race on Patriot’s Day, Easter Monday.
As the last post described, it was a bit of a marathon for me. Because we left the day after my work in Vanderhoof, I didn’t have any time to rest, and while enroute to Boston by plane, I developed a cough and felt stressed by the travel arrangements. By the time I got to Boston, I wasn’t feeling that great, and didn’t get to do some of the things we had hoped to do, exploring that amazing city. We even missed getting to Park Street Church on Easter Sunday. Instead, we walked a lot otherwise, trying to acquire materials for the race on Monday.
By the time the race arrived, I ended up being more exhausted and dehydrated than I realized, and thus succumbed to fainting and a short emergency hospital visit. But the day didn’t end before we had to drive another four or five hours to our friends’ home in New Jersey. Thankfully, I was able to rest quite a lot for a couple of days at their home, and was better prepared for the journey back to Edmonton and then Prince George. Yet, at the same time, I knew I had a speaking engagement for the Sunday on my return to Prince George.
With the losses on the trip (including my prescription sun glasses), and a few other travel mix-ups, I was feeling pretty bad emotionally as well. I was happy when Sunday afternoon arrived and I had the chance for some extended rest the following week. Even though I had things to prepare for the week, I was able to take lots of time for rest while being at home.
As I’ve been reflecting on this travel experience, my illness, and slow recovery, I’ve come to realize that I haven’t taken enough time, often enough, just to rest and to be quiet before the Lord. Yesterday and today have been a blessing. I took my time to prepare for the trip to Vanderhoof yesterday — enjoying some extra time just to visit and travel to the mall with Carolyn. We had a leisurely breakfast and even had some time for coffee after we did our voting at the advance provincial election polling station.
And today, after taking time for the Service, I have been at home for the whole day — just thinking, reflecting, reading, resting, and cooking a bit. It was a delight just to be here without feeling I had additional responsibilities. This week will be full enough with things to do both here and in Prince George.
I realize increasingly that I have to slow down. I need to take time to smell the roses — to enjoy time resting, thinking, and writing notes like this. I have been blessed by meditation on several Psalms and other passages of Scripture. Today, I read Psalm 121 and thought about it a little. I realized that God is always looking after me, and that I need to rest in the knowledge that everything about me is secure in His hands. I need to take time to breathe — to slow down enough to do what’s required of me — by the Lord. Too often, we feel the push to do more and more — perhaps with the motive of simply wanting to impress one’s peers, or boss, etc.
May God help me to live in dependence upon His grace — as it says in Psalm 116:9 — And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth! May I ever be conscious of His presence, taking each step in accord with His will — instead of getting ahead of Him, and getting exhausted in the process.