Perhaps I’m just a “melancholy spirit” and find solace in solitude. Or maybe my soul just thirsts for something more than the ho-hum of everyday. Whatever the reason, on a particular day, October 17, 2000, at 3:00 in the afternoon – I had to “run away” from routine. I needed to come rest awhile. With camera and writing materials, I had no idea where to go, so I just drove south searching for a spark of beauty that would beckon me to come away and rest for a while (Mark 6:31).
Come Rest Awhile
Jesus knew this to be a need when he spoke to his disciples so long ago. They had labored all day and needed a respite. My need for respite on that October day was just as genuine. Vance Havner, an old time preacher, said it like this. “Come apart, or come apart.” As I played with my grandchildren down by the creek bank this past week, I remembered the lessons I learned back on that October day eighteen years ago.
Memories from October 2000
I seek a place of quietness. The rain is blinding and non-relenting. I need a place that will offer shelter from the harshness of the physical storm that is mimicking the emotional storm raging in my heart. I drive in the blinding rain. And then I see the sign, General Butler State Park. This would be my place out of the storm. My place of quiet. Snatching up my writing materials, umbrella, and camera I dash across the fallen decaying yellow leaves. The fragrance brings a distant memory of some other time and place. Unsure where and when – but pleasant, oh so pleasant.
I arrive at the picnic pavilion and discover an open building with two fireplaces, dry tables, and protection from the rain. Through open, arched windows, my dash through the rain has rewarded me with a view of the lake and the woods on the hillside as they reflect their golden colors upon the rain-spattered waters.
I sit alone in my little cottage in the woods. I am surrounded by beauty and protected from the outside world by the intermittent sheets of rain. The water droplets as they fall from the tall branches and onto the carpet of fallen leaves becomes my insulation against the outside world.
I am relaxed. I am having fun. My mind wanders back to a time of carefree memories of previous photo shoots when I was a student at Murray State University. Lessons I learned both in art and photography classes come to mind as I snap pictures. How long have I been so busy experiencing life, going through motions and checking off obligations that I have forgotten to really see the beauty in every moment?
Today I’m Seeing Again
Today I’m seeing. Maybe for the first time in a long time – too long. I’m seeing the ever-changing scenes before me as the lake of green-brown reflections become white diamonds as they chase the wind-swept ripples toward shore. The gentle breeze is almost whispering across the surface. I am hearing a cacophony of birds perched high above me in the trees, unseen, yet singing a melodious symphony to my heart. I am breathing in the aroma of the wet fallen leaves and again searching my memory to understand why this is so refreshing. I am at peace – my spirit is refreshed – I am rejoicing in just being here.
A Mothers Wisdom Remembered
Many years ago I was a young mother of three, a pastor’s wife, and a school teacher. I was feeling overwhelmed with expectations and schedules and demands – basically I felt like I was coming apart. My mother gave me some wonderful advice on that occasion and it’s never left me. When we are experiencing these emotions, it is time that we rest for a while. It might be time to pack up the children, turn off the electronics, walk outside, and really see what God desires to reveal in a time of quietness.
Ah, there it is, the memory I was associating with this refreshing moment in time. It’s the memory of my mother as she exposed me to the beauty of Gods wonderful world. It’s the memory of my own sweet children discovering a shiny rock, a red leaf, a feather, an acorn, or a lightening bug. These memories create the refreshing fragrance of rest.
I often think of David when he was out tending his sheep and communing with God. I may not tend sheep, but my communion comes when I walk in solitude through the woods, gently swing on my porch swing, or stroll in the rain. I find rest for my soul when I enter the world of my grandchildren and see what they see and experience, in their own discoveries.
Not everyone is created with a need or desire for solitude and long walks of quietness. However, if you need these times, they are as important to spiritual and emotional health as eating and breathing is to the physical health.
How about you? Where do you find ways to Come Apart and rest awhile? I’d love to hear.