As I’ve mentioned before in this blog (I’m making the dangerous and ego-imperiling assumption that some of you have actually read my material and returned to do so again. Maybe it was the penance at your last confession. Who knows?), I lead the most exciting life in the world. From liking to go to bed when it is still light out to eating oatmeal almost every day for breakfast, my life clearly manifests this claim. And so what am I doing for vacation this summer? I’m going to my mom’s house and sitting on the porch. Maybe for hours at a time. Maybe for the entire vacation. I know, you are sensing the excitement right through cyberspace.
Now before you mock me too heartily, let’s first of all sing the praises of front porches in general. Let it be told that they are a wonderful thing. And from the vantage point on my particular porch, I can see mountains, trees, birds, bike riders, clouds, countless passing cars, and even a furry, hopping, happy bunny. People pay big bucks at the resorts for a view like that, you know. Ah, just writing about it makes me long to be there now. Exciting, heh?
Admittedly, I make mockery an easy exercise, but I really do like being on that front porch. For when I am there, I don’t have to do, I just have to be. And there is much to be said for just being.
You and I live ridiculously busy and horribly stressful lives. Yet a lot of the busy and a lot of the stress is self-inflicted. We take on too much – witness the high school sophomore taking 2 sciences, playing 3 sports, juggling 4 competing friends, and catching barely 5 hours of sleep. We expect too much – from our parents, friends, teachers, classmates, teammates, and especially, ourselves. We complain too much – about assignments, practices, responsibilities, relationships, romances, bad tasting tacos, and God’s failure to run the Universe in a manner which meets our approval. And yet, when it comes to stepping aside from all this – and simply being – we hesitate. But the front porch is calling.
I’m pretty sure that God would be pleased with us if we cut back on our doing and added some more being. Even when his apostles were running all over Galilee doing great things and saving souls and preaching the word – even then – Jesus invited them to “come away by yourself to a deserted place and rest a while (Mk 6:31).” Should not you and I do the same? Believe me, I’m not promoting laziness here. Indeed, we should be and need to be busy about the Lord’s work. But appropriate rest actually assists us in doing Christ’s bidding. For when we rest, not only are we refreshed, but we are quieted too, and our hearts become more aware of God’s presence and more able to distinguish his voice. In other words, we need some time on the porch.
Continue to enjoy your summer and be assured that you are in my prayers,