The sermon on Sunday week was based on the passage of Jesus returning to his birth town and how he was treated there. (Luke 4:14-29)
There were many ideas discussed but the one thing that talked to me was travelling light for two reasons.
The first thing that struck me was my present vacation. I had packed the van with many boxes containing photography equipment, painting supplies, a small box of clothes, a box of books, my bible study bag, my handbag and on the way picked up a box of food supplies. I was not travelling light. I was burdened down by supplies. And as I sat there I saw what I truly needed for a vacation with the Lord: my heart – open, warm and ready to be changed.
In contrast is the preparation for travelling to Bible College in September. For that it is all about how to lighten the load, taking as little baggage as possible.
The contrast is stark; for this week – that has been set aside for more than a year, was exactly that – a vacation. Originally it was a week of questioning, wrangling and wrestling because I knew that the path I had been on – I was not ready for and I think I wanted to understand how I could know what the path was and why to a certain extent but not in myself be ready for taking those next steps. Thankfully that week of anguish was taken out of my hands and so I aimed at vacationing with the Lord.
But I have held a tension since it, the path, has entered a time of interruption: Had I disrespected the Lord by not ploughing on regardless but acquiescing to what I thought was the right decision.
And that is why I filled the week with meetings and painting to deflect from the true purpose of this time; time with the Lord. I was avoiding the time, and I am really good at avoiding.
So as I sat listening to the sermon on Sunday, I prayed to the Lord. I unburdened the boxes and bags at the earliest time, I divested myself of the technology and I sat on mountaintops, I sat by the sea, I sat in the middle of the wild scenery of West Cork and I vacationed with the Lord.
Be still and know that I am God, as the Psalmist wrote in the middle of their storm. I don’t feel I am in a storm but I do have questions, I do want to know how the Lord wants me to be on this path of interruption. I was asking for words of encouragement, that I was doing the work He wanted. I was asking for words to express this journey to others. I was asking a whole pile of stuff.
And I got some answers, not all, but some. There is a surer clarity that I can work with, there will be moving, there will be staying still, there will be many more challenges and I will be given the skills to rise to them. The word given to me months ago still resounds around my head as something to aim for as I continue being open to the changes.
There is the image of the retired Minister who over and over patted my arm whilst affirming me and challenging me to believe it for myself.
There is the image of a smiling, happy, contented woman, where there had been stress, sadness and worry when she heard I’d be sticking around for a while.
And today (two weeks after writing this piece) there is the amber paradox. So many facets, so many juxtaposed traits, three perhaps even four people living in one body, all vying for top dog. And I think I am getting a much clearer picture of what this walk I have been called to means, today as I feel there is a piece of my life missing and wondering how I am going to fill those empty hours each week. There is also work to be done, there is admin, a couple of visits, organising and supporting, writing. As I privately grieve, I must then take a deep breath and plunge out into the world and not bring my burden with me like a sad sack. Time to shake it off…