My husband gave me a gift yesterday- a day of spiritual retreat. It is a practice we've wanted to instill regularly for a long time. We'll take turns, him one month, me the next. So on my day (I only took a morning this month), I went to the Arboretum and spent some time listening and reading. I learned what a sycamore tree looks like, that sassafrass trees have random mitten shaped leaves, and I watched flowers literally turn their budded heads to face the warm sun from under the shade of a tree.
I really didn't know what to expect from this day, so I decided to expect nothing. In the car on the way out, I simply prayed, "Jesus, I just want to hang out with you today. What do you want to do? No agendas. No burning questions for you to answer for me. Just me and you, chillin with the trees and shrubs." He seemed fine with that.
So we walked for a while, around the paths, my Savior and I. I listened. I held my thoughts captive and wondered what my friend, my Lord might want to make of our time together.
I read some CS Lewis and ran across this section on beauty that blew me away. I can't do it justice, but I'll quote one short part. He writes:
"To desire the desiring of her own beauty is the vanity of Lillith, but to desire the enjoying of her own beauty is the obedience of Eve, and to both, it is in the lover that the beloved tastes her own delightfulness." Almost immediately an image of a calm, cool pool of water, completely still, surrounded by trees, came to mind along with the message, "This is you." This is the beauty that is me. It is Him in me- this calm stillness. This is His purpose for me. I am at my best when I am bringing peace. All of the hopes and dreams and joys of my life are connected to this still water in some way. I love to bring peace-
Peace to a college dorm full of girls struggling to find themselves
Peace to a Kenyan man far from home in the form of a meal
Peace to an insecure middle school child
Peace to a tired new mom or dad
Peace to my children after a long day at school
Peace to a missionary in Haiti who runs marathons to feed children
Peace to two little orphaned girls someday
Peace to friends and family who want a place to call home for a while
Peace to a Korean mom who wants to learn English
Peace to a new neighbor or to complete strangers.
I'm not flashy or wild. I'm not the surf crashing on a shore or a majestic Hawaiin waterfall. When I'm at my best, living into who I'm created to be, I'm that still pool that invites you to come, dip your toes, sit a while and feel the presence of my friend Jesus with me.