“Aunt Stac, do you have a word for this year?” my spunky niece questioned with eyebrows raised. I shared my word and she responded, “That was your word last year!”
Oh, I know sweet one. Last year’s word still has work to do. I would like to say I’m moving on to a different word, but I’m not. New year, new decade, same word. Ugh. With a little chagrin I carry last year’s word into 2020.
The word… rest.
Lord knows I need focus. I’m bent to dream and imagine and conjure up all kinds of things. I gather much energy when I think of a new year and its possibilities. I’m the staff member who actually enjoys the visioning meetings.
What can I say? I love, love, love new beginnings. Dr. Suess’ Oh The Places You’ll Go is my theme book.
My word for the 2020 sparks little excitement. I’ve made no plans as to what the year will hold, what this word will mean for me. Each time my thoughts wander to the planning of some great scheme, those four letters drift across my mind.
As I put away most holiday decorations I create space for my early morning devotions. Inspiration becksons me to leave the tree up a little longer. A reminder Christ is born in me each and every day. By the time I finish my sacred space is clean, organized, and inviting.
It’s three days into the new year when I look over as my fisherman spreads his stuff out to prepare for the next day’s trip. No big deal, he’ll finish the job shortly right? Wrong! Eight days into the New Year and it’s still there. My sacred space, my place of rest looks like a tackle box.
Here… take a look.
Sun’s first light makes its way over trees as I reach through a maze of fishing rods to light the candle. I pour coffee and ponder. I’ll take my stuff to another room. Maybe I should just carefully set the stuff aside and clear the space. I could throw it in the yard. No… no that’s not helpful.
In the end I find a clear corner and watch night become day. I pray for those who float through my mind and turn thoughts heavenward. Right in the middle of the mess I rest. No cleaning it up, no pushing it aside, no hiding it in drawers or baskets. Though I want to. Oh, how I want to.
This resting business is a wrestling match of sorts. And the condition of my devotional space paints a picture of what’s happening on the inside of me.
Where did I get the idea rest only happens in clean and tidy spaces? Some part of me must believe God won’t show up in this mess.
I know this is an upside down approach, but what if rest is the thing to do smack dab in the middle of messy? Before the cleaning, the organizing, the purging. Rest might be the thing to do before the day begins, before the cleaning begins.
I remember holy words, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
This morning I imagine Jesus turning holy words my direction.
“Come to me in the middle of the mess. Leave it be. Let it go. You, daughter of mine, are called to rest. Let me turn it right side up for you. Rest is not about a job well done. Nor is it lazy or irresponsible. I was born to inhabit your mess. We’ll clean it up together. Rest assured I will show up. No matter what.