It’s a cold, overcast day, a tiny sliver of blue sky off to the west, but the rest of the sky is gray. Forty two degrees, just a tiny breeze, just enough to shake the now brown lingering leaves on the bare branches.
I stand outside for brief moment, to take the scene in but nothing really pulls me outdoors. The busyness of a suburb during the week is just enough noise and activity to pull my thoughts from running free as I stare at trees and birds. Oliver joined me outside, a crabby boy indoors, he seemed delighted to look around with me. Cars passing by, trucks and planes off in the distance making noise–it’s trash and recycling day–but we talked about birds, and that tree over there, and how it’s hard for people to fly. He also realized he needed some socks, so ran inside to get some before coming right back.
We live near the edge of the city, so not in the middle of the hustle and bustle of urban life, yet it’s a consistently active street, a minor thoroughfare through the housing developments, one of the few that get a person from the main street to the upper neighborhoods.
I miss being able to sit outside and hear the wind in the trees without hearing or smelling the cars going by. My discontent stirs as I wish to be where I’m not and wish for a place I don’t have, a place with a quiet getaway from the frenzy, a place with trees, and birds, and animals to get to know, and maybe a creek. I pray for that place, but I don’t know if I’ll get there.
That’s one of those persistent conflicts for me, realizing I’m about as introverted as they come, surprisingly sensitive to noises, and come from many generations of folks who kept coming West to work the land. My genes have combined over the generations to yearn for a lot of space away from the crowds. I want that to be the song I sing.
But my rhythms haven’t led that way, and so I seem to constantly be in battle with where I’m at versus where I want to be, and realizing (in my quiet moments) that I’m at where God wants me to be, and so it’s not just an issue of aesthetics, it’s an issue of obedience and faith. God made me one way, I realize in my more frustrated moments, to not fit in with those places I seem to be the most. This underlying tension of my rhythm not matching the rhythms around me, dissonance and missed beats resulting. When I want to clap on my 2 and 4, I end up clapping in the world’s 1 1/4 and 3 1/4.
When should I clap? My tendency is to stop clapping altogether. To feel the strain and stress and do that which manages my stress, which is generally retreating to solitude. But that’s not my calling in this season either. I’m called to more hospitality.
The tension builds. And when I move around, exist in the everchanging seasons of different uncertainties, I never quite get a rhythm of the place I’m in, and lose my sense of self. I leave behind hobbies, and rejuvenating places, as the busyness abounds. So, struggle getting reset.
It’s all part of this whirling, swirling. Which sounds much more dramatic than it is. I’m gazing deep into my inner being right now, and trying to discern what leads to the outward discontent and diminishing enthusiasm.
All of this speaks to how I’m securing my being, how much I’m existing as a participant in the Kingdom versus other systems of value. I think that if I truly was oriented wholly in the Kingdom, I’d find a consistency and enthusiasm uninfluenced by circumstances.
That’s the challenge as I face a year of more busyness and possible upheaval. Stop blaming, start being. Because there’s always something, whether in lack or in success, there will always be something to try to pull me away from my true self. I have to find the rhythm of the kingdom, and offer myself in that rhythm. That is the point at which I’ll really be worshiping in full and really living as my true self.