Thursday, September 18, 2014

Study Break 2014

I am finishing up a too-short (aren't they always?) study break; one spent chauffeuring family to visit with relatives and stealing the days in between to soak up the healing found in the sand and the sea.

I'm not a sit-out-and-tan-all-day kind of girl when it comes to the beach. I'm more the bring-a-million-books-with-you sort. It's an ideal setting for a study break, and for years now I've stolen a week or two away to do just that. There have been a few breaks spent in other places (with a piano close at hand), but I am centered, mostly, at Emerald Isle.

We have history here, as a family. I have walked this same beach for years, on vacation or break, and pondered Life As I Know It. I have asked questions of God. I have cried with my brother and sister-in-law. I have agonized over the health of my family and the circumstances of our lives.

It is a monument to the passage of time, this beach, these unchanging tides. It is precious to me.

So things change, and things stay the same. These few days have been brilliant and restorative. My heart is full, in so many ways. This time away from my job is designed to enable me to do that job better, and this morning, as my fingers flew across the keyboard with plans and ideas, the churning of the rich soul of solitude and silence made evident its value.

I am so grateful. And in this moment, right here, I am quite content.

I am, at times, fascinated with my own history - stunned by how the years have pushed and pulled me, molded me, shaped me into who I am in this present moment. I doubt that anyone else would be lured by the excitement of blog posts from 2008, but it's interesting to see where I was and what I was thinking here and here. I suppose I harbor some tendencies toward narcissism, and this might be an indicator...however, I find it helpful to reread, revisit, reconnect, even with my own self.

In fact, I am re-reading the same book mentioned in those posts; I come back to it time and time again, because it heals and encourages and centers me in ways that I cannot do on my own.

Today, with the surf crashing around me and the September sun reminding me of its late-season power, I read this passage:
"...the first order of things is that we are creatures and God is the Creator. God is the one who is infinite; I, on the other hand, must learn to live within the physical limits of time and space and the human limits of my own strength and energy. There are limits to my relationship, emotional, mental and spiritual capacities. I am not God. God is the only one who can be all things to all people. God is the only one who can be two places at once. God is the one who never sleeps. I am not. We can't remind ourselves of this enough. This is pretty basic stuff, but many of us live as though we don't know it." - Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Ruth Haley Barton 

No kidding. I keep learning, the hard way, of this simple truth: There are limits.

Coupled with the latest TIME magazine article about the healing power of sleep, I feel like the birthday girl who has just been granted an invaluable gift.

I feel like an idiot at times, that I have to be reminded that I am not God. DUH.

But it is the truth, for this season of my life. I do. I need this grace, this love, to be imprinted on my heart.

And so I will search 'study break' on my own blog, and be reminded of all the times I have leaned on the Everlasting Arms and found comfort in the quiet; of all the books and the thoughts and the music and the deep, sonorous love of the one who is, has been, and will be.

Amen.

My cairn; prayer rocks, for specific people. You know
who you are....

I am thankful for a supportive husband.
Who leaves love notes.

The sea meets the sky...

Not bad office space!

Lots of room to make a mess; a PRODUCTIVE mess!

Me.
Thankful.

3 comments:

annie said...

I think the reconnecting with yourself, and revisiting is a good and helpful thing, Beth. I always enjoy your reports of your study breaks. And thank you for your continued prayers for me. :)

Lori said...

There is something profound about the ocean and the connection we find there. It is were I meet God. And God meets me. It is deeply healing, soothing and many other things. Teeming with life unseen and I stand in awe of it most days and never tire of what I see and feel there. I am so glad you got to go. You were due. <3
I love your happy face photo! It's so you.
Sleep is a wonderful elixir.

pattiwag said...

I take great comfort in my rock. And that you are taking care of yourself.
Love you!