A few times a year, I know I need to pull back a little, to find a little more margin and quiet. Obviously, it isn’t feasible for me to just quit everything, so I’ve discovered little ways to achieve margin in my heart, even if my actual schedule is still busy.
Specifically, chicken stock (based loosely on this recipe). I get out my big red pot after I roast a chicken. I put the bones, veggies, spices and a whole bunch of water and I let it simmer all day. There’s something about soup on the stove that seems right. It’s low maintenance, just a stir every once in awhile, but requires me to be present.
However, this time there’s a sad ending to the chicken stock story. I ladled it in mason jars at the end of the day and after they cooled, I put them in the freezer. Ten quart jars! I felt so domestic. Until a few days later, I discovered that six of them had busted in the freezing process. I’m not going to lie, I almost cried throwing it all away. Note to self: no more glass jars in the freezer.
Now, I am always reading a book. There’s a pile beside my bed and a basket of books that travels with me, and usually a few under the coffee table, too. When I leave the house, I usually stick one in my purse just in case I get a few minutes to read a page. They’re usually books I should read. You know, the nonfiction ones that are good for me.
But a few times a year, I take one of my classic favorite fictions off the shelf. The ones that I can flip to any page and know exactly what’s going on. They’re usually books I’ve read since I was twelve. And this time I re-read Emily of New Moon. It’s not only about the story– it’s about the memories connected to being a child and falling in love with words. It’s about the inscription on the front– books from my Grandma, who read them all before she gifted them to me, because she loved them, too. And when I’m feeling nostalgic, anything by L.M. Montgomery feels just right.
Like this video of Bono and Eugene Peterson on the Psalms. It was fantastic.
Jesus, forgive us for thinking our busyness will bring us salvation. We run around, doing good things, yes, but it’s like we don’t believe that the world can go on without us. Why do we insist on this silly effort? Why do we have such a hard time drawing back, giving ourselves more margin? Teach us what it means to turn back to you, to depend on you in ways we’ve been unwilling to surrender. It’s scary to pull back, because you speak to us in silence, when our hearts are still. It feels like a risk. But it’s what you call us to. May we always be willing to allow you to do Your work in our hearts, because that’s when we see our True Source of strength.