I added the following post to a little blog I created for the student leaders I work with. Have fun and happy summer.
The ideas of rest, of slowing down, of timelessness.
They aren’t new thoughts. Actually, just about everyone I talk to here in Upland comments on them. The nice-ness of summer. How it slows down and there really is time to just be. A few nights ago, Jorjette and I grabbed a couple books, walked over to those criminally underused tables between the Union and Metcalf, and read with a quiet and soft breeze surrounding us. The ability to get lost in a book, in the beauty of my new wife, in the evening cool of mid-June Indiana – not bad.
This didn’t make the reading list (I’m not sure why…) but Sheldon Vanauken (1980), in his book, A Severe Mercy, talks about how he and his wife “…longed for unpressured time – time-free existence – for thus we should find joy” (p. 207). Our enjoyment of timeless moments suggests that we may not always be “purely temporal creatures” (p. 203). So when I have moments like I described in the last paragraph, I like to think that I’m getting just a little taste of eternity.
Eugene Peterson, in his devotional-ish book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction(2000, another book not on the list… I promise I’m reading the reader, too) challenges the reader (me) to continue following Christ, even when there’s not a whole lot of excitement or hoopla involved. We are called to be disciples and pilgrims, “apprenticed to our master” and “going to God,” respectfully.
I like to think that the time-less moments that keep popping up this summer (which hint at something of the eternal) set me up nicely to continue in my feeble attempts to be a disciple and a pilgrim. I think, in a way, these two thoughts are connected.
I thank God for times like these and, while time-less moments and my roles of disciple and pilgrim do not end with the accompanying end of summer, it’s just a little easier to recognize when those moments happen and it’s just a little easier to assess how I’m doing in my various roles. Here’s to another month and a half of living slowly.
Peterson, E. H. (2000). A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Vanauken, S. (1980). A Severe Mercy. New York, NY: HarperOne.