Plundering the Day

July 2015

OK, look. This is the day before we leave on our family beach trip. The clothes JUST beeped at me from the dryer. My empty suitcase is waiting in the bedroom. Both children are upstairs flinging themselves against the wall. This is not the time to write. This is not the time to write, or think, or pray or ponder. This is a time to get All The Things done.

I look down at the rings on my hand — the white gold band, the diamond glint. I observe my fingernails, a cool pearly white. No emotion registers. Everything today looks physical and utilitarian, without broader meaning. It seems like the world might erode away unless I somehow organize, clean and pack it. No, this isn’t the time to reflect.

When I get to the beach, then I’ll take hold of my life. I’ll Think Thoughts then. Unless a kid needs me to open his fun-pack of Doritos, or becomes hysterical over a shared sand spade. Then I’ll steal away to a balcony and find a moment alone, where God is, where I am. Until I fall asleep on the lounge chair from exhaustion. But that evening, when the dishes are done and the showers are facilitated and the sea lies black under a navy sky, I’ll carve out a short walk on the sand.

The drive home will be long and vast, a perfect cocoon, sunlight streaming down on my by-then-tan legs. I will let my head fall back against the headrest and begin to connect with the inner life; I will get down to the business of hearing from God, of writing this letter, of joining my wheels to the tracks of Reality.

Then we’ll pull over so someone can vomit.

One day, life will lend itself to pondering, writing, connecting. It will be so easy then! So natural, like breathing.

Unless it won’t.

Ann Morrow Lindbergh, the beautiful author of “Gift From The Sea,” says we need to be “pioneers” in achieving a kind of stillness, a quiet core that persists in the midst of making food, cleaning spills, and correcting injustice. I think a better metaphor, at least for me, is that of a thief — I will have to begin stealing. This moment, then the next, plundering each day for whatever I can. I will become the great hijacker of my life; a fugitive running ever after a clearer vision of God.

What role fits you best? Who do you need to be in order to look God square in the face each day — burglar, pioneer, card shark? I’d love to know about your tricks, secrets and back doors. Tell me what you’ll do, who you’ll be, to ride the waves under a north star this summer.

Together, I’d love for us to echo King David, who said:
“I will not enter my house or get into my bed,
I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids,
until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
(Ps.132:3-5)

Julie

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