Friday, October 22, 2010

A Study In Contrasts

I was thinking today. No, seriously. I was. I actually rose before the sun this morning. I'd like to tell you that I did so because I decided that it was a wonderfully righteous thing to do and I decided to be righteous. Alas, it is not so. I needed to be at the hospital a good part of this Friday to visit with two friends from my church having surgery. I needed to be there early and so I found myself backing out of my driveway, glancing to the east, and actually seeing a rising sun peeking through the clouds. Now, I've seen sun rises before. I'm just wired to enjoy sunsets more. They look the same. Just backward.

But obviously that's not my point. My point is "rest." Rest vs. rush. I'm going to be talking about that a little bit this coming Sunday morning when I speak at our church. Rest is a rare commodity in 2010. Not because it's not avaiable so much as because, well, nobody really wants it. But rest is important. Very important Without it ... you'll eventually run into "The Wall" and maybe even die. Don't argue with me on this. I'm an adrenaline junkie. I know what I'm talking about when I mention that Wall. It's real. And it hurts to hit it. So don't do it, okay? We were designed by our maker to need "down time."

As a matter-of-fact, God actually initiated the idea of rest. You didn’t know that? It’s called “Sabbath.” It’s about slowing down the pace of life, relaxing, and allowing your system to replenish and refresh. So do some of that! Maybe it’s time to turn on some quiet music, dim the lights, put your feet up, and simply exist for an hour or so. The truth is, many of us don’t find that restful anymore. We’ve rewired our systems and instead of “rest” we search for “rush.” You know the rush I mean. The adrenaline rush! I admit that there’s nothing like that experience of feeling totally alive when that little chemical goes sprinting through my bloodstream. I just wrapped up a two week vacation and, honestly, I tried to avoid adrenaline. As I've mentioned Debbie and I slipped up to northern Michigan for a few days and soaked in the fall colors as the leaves peaked along the shores of a cobalt blue Lake Superior. We walked around Mackinac Island, admiring the Victorian architecture, horse drawn carriages, and a healthy (or maybe NOT so healthy) ice cream cone. (Yum.) And then we did something I had never done before. We drove down to Chicago and watched our son, Scott, compete in the Chicago Marathon. I cannot imagine running 26.2 miles on purpose! I have a hard time focusing long enough to drive 26.2 miles. We were very proud of our son as he ran for “Team World Vision” to raise money to feed hungry people world wide. But I couldn’t help contrasting the two ends of that trip. What a stark difference between gentle waves lapping up on a Great Lakes beach while leaves fell silently around us and one million screaming people gathered in downtown Chicago to watch forty-three thousand runners focusing on the finish line.

As I drove away from Chicago the next day I let Debbie do most of the driving. That's a major milestone for me. I always subscribed to the theory that "real men drive." But I pushed the passenger seat back, grabbed a book, smiled at her as she enjoyed holding the wheel for a while, and simply ... rested. And then I took the second week of my vacation and did nothing. I mean a serous amount of nothing. I had planned on power-washing and re-staining my deck. I decided not to. My body was saying that there is this long stretch looming down the road called "The Holidays." This was the last rest stop before the tree goes up. So I jumped on the chance.

I'm not sorry that I did. The two weeks turned out to be a study in contrasts. Falling leaves and deep breaths. Gentle waves and long, luxurious stretches, I like it. It gets addictive. And then all of the cheering people. Fast paced runners. Deep dish pizza and Chicago hot dogs. There is room for both. But right now ... I'm learning to re-appreciate simple, God ordained ... rest. I truly hope maybe you'll consider doing the same.

Gosh. That sounded like a sermon.


Anonymous said...

So, how did the Sunday morning sermon go? At least you are speaking about resting AFTER you have your Sunday School workers all lined up for this year.

Make sure you're careful driving! Never would think of a sunrise backwards is a sunset; that's one way to look at it. I'm more alert to enjoy a sunset also.