Thursday, September 25, 2008

Running on Empty

There is a gas crisis here in Charlotte - and in the Southeast in general. I suspect that we would all gladly pay $5 or $6 per gallon, but we simply cannot find gas. Dozens of gas stations here are simply dry. Out of gas. I have a little more than half a tank this morning, but I wonder when I will next get the chance to fill up.

My life tank is feeling a little like that these days. There is still some joy and peace and grace in there, but I am in need of a tank refill. Refueling. An engine light is blinking.

I saw this sand dollar at the beach two weekends ago.
I saw myself in it: broken in half and underwater.
The tide was coming in, and just after I took that photo,
it disappeared. Washed inland and then back out to sea.

A few yards away was this majestic pier. Overhead, casting a cool shadow on a hot day. And underneath the pier, evidence of an earlier pier, most likely, just as strong and sturdy. But it had been leveled by a powerful storm sometime ago. There was the stump. Solid. Proud. Capable of serious bodily harm to an inattentive passerby. In its own stumpy little way.

It is easy sometimes to pay attention to the brokennness.
The empty tank.
The destruction.
The loneliness.
The sorrow.
The drowning feeling when the tide is in.
It is easy sometimes to think that someone somewhere is hoarding gas.
And joy and laughter and grace and chocolate chip cookies as well.

But then the tide rolls out.
The beach reappears.
And when I look up, I see the beauty of the pier and the sun
and the beach and the sand and of life.
I have been forgiven.
I am loved.
I have a hope and a future.

And if I would just remember the joy and wonder and awe that
children so often feel at the beach,
perhaps all would not be easy,
perhaps there wouldn't be surpluses of gas in an hour,
perhaps family life wouldn't be like it was "in the old days,"
(whenever those "old days" were...)
perhaps I would still worry and doubt and be afraid sometimes.
But at least, I would see the great beauty that surrounds me
all the time everywhere.

I keep going back to a favorite passage of mine, the one when Jesus said,
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life.
I'll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Matthew 11:28-30, The Message

One thing I know for sure:
I need some free, light, restful, unforced, graceful living.
I need a real rest.
Until I am able to inhale and exhale fully and deeply again,
I'm gonna be drinking a lot of Teavana tea,
looking up at my new peace flags (thanks, Lisa),
burning my "No worries" candle (thanks, Jen)
listening to some Sara Groves (thanks, Jill),
celebrating the gift of my many friends and other loved ones,
(you know who you are and how much you mean to me)
and praying.

I suspect that once I do all that stuff,
I will be just fine...
All shall be well.
All is well.


Robin Maria Pedrero said...

you write beautifully

Robin Maria Pedrero said...

Thanks for commenting on my artwork. I am glad you like it. I found you be googling journey. My art is a visual journey.

Amy said...

I need a real rest, too, Gail. I'm nursing a sore throat and swollen gland today and feel stuffy.

Another beautiful post! There is always hope ... at least we have another life to look forward to ... and it's eternal.

Ella said...

These are times where hope seems to vanish. I see people panic, but this too shall pass. History always repeats itself and cycles round again.

In Friendship,