This is one of those weeks where all the challenges circle around like the steps on the stair climber at the gym. No matter how long you climb or how fast or slow or how tired you are, they just keep coming at a steady and predictable rate. Being consistently tired and having tough mornings or minutes or months isn’t even taking you by surprise anymore.
I told myself this month would be crazy. I wanted the advance warning, so I looked at the calendar and took myself by the shoulder and said, “Yeah. It’s going to be wild. October is a long ways away. So instead of looking at the busyness, look for the rest. Don’t wait until next month to sit down, read a book, admire the mountains, invite someone over for dinner. Look for the rest this month, right now.” I wasn’t mistaken about the schedule. We’re five days into the month and the best summary I can think of so far is that yesterday when I gave up my one unscheduled hour to pack for the week, a container lid fell on my nose and scraped it hard – the only reward for my labor. Oh well.
I’m not good at resting. Anyone who knows me can tell you that. I like to achieve things. I like to have worked hard for a long time. I like to have the dishes washed and the high chair clean and the laundry done and the packing finished. I like to sit down only when I can survey my little domain tidy and comfortable. September doesn’t get to be that way.
In the effort to savor what I have instead of wishing for what I don’t, I’m looking around for the things I’ll miss next month, back in the city. I’ll miss the mountain, with our drive-by view of Pike’s Peak’s profile, misted over today, with snow on the rocky slopes running down towards the trees. I’ll miss the way the aspens are turning so slowly. Already the bright green leaves that blanketed the hills are turning to rust and gold with the cool breath of fall. I’ll miss the wood tones of the furniture in staff housing. Our home will be lovely in the Springs, but less woodsy. This is the month to lean into the things I could overlook too easily.
I’m asking myself, too, whether this month is bad or just hard. Bad things happen; car accidents, illnesses, crime, injury. This isn’t one of those. This is living farther away from friends, parenting longer hours while Grant works, balancing our life between a storage garage, a suburban basement-home and the spacious housing at camp. It’s challenging to cook without my kitchen appliances or wonder which box that needed item was put into, and when I’ll find it again. But it’s not bad. It’s just a hard thing, and it will end.
Beyond all those things, truth is the anchor I need most right now. I opened Psalm 27 today, wondering how I could go for so many weeks missing out on the social occasions that I crave, introvert though I am. Is this loneliness just going to pervade the rest of my life? Will I always feel a bit purposeless, a bit alone, a bit worn out while I chase a toddler around and have nobody to talk to? But Psalm 27:1 says “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
My courage and joy don’t depend on friends, on being walking distance from a good coffee shop, on getting to sleep in while somebody else gives Erik a bottle and his first diaper change of the day. My life is held in the strong grip of God. Verses 13-14 of the same Psalm say, “I believe I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Wait for the Lord!”
I do believe it. I do believe I can find rest, here in the Aspens shedding their summer summer colors for a short-lived autumn glory. I will wait for the Lord. I will make my heart take courage. I will look for the rest.