Saturday, July 27, 2013

Umbrella of Grace


The dream of my life is to lie down
by a slow river and stare at the light in the trees--
to learn something of being nothing a little while
by the rich lens of attention.
~Mary Oliver

The rich lens of attention.
I was reading this snippet from a poem
and got stuck on that phrase.
Attention means a stretching toward something
from its Latin roots ad + tenere.
Many days I run too fast to stretch 
toward any one thing.
Other days everything rushes past me
and I don't notice one anything.

Yesterday I had the luxurious privilege  
of just sitting on the beach.
I had a chance to pay attention.
I looked up at the umbrella.
I was grateful for vibrant color and blue sky.
And for clouds. And for contrast.
I looked out at the ocean.
The water would change color each time
the sun slipped behind a cloud.
And the waves rolled in, not perfectly patterned, 
but randomly playful.
I wanted to stay there forever.

That day was a gift to me.
The Lord had been speaking to me
about rest and identity.
In return and rest you will be saved;
quietness and trust will be your strength.
Isaiah 30:15
My temptation was in wanting to take that gift
and hoard it, praying for another like it,
believing rest has to look just like it.
But He assured me that every day is a gift. 
Striving is what happens when we decide it 
has to look a certain way and spend ourselves
orchestrating that look--
kind of like self-gifting--
assuming we'll never get it any other way.

He spoke a word of release and rest over me.
I am going to help you look 
through My lens of attention so that
you are able to stretch toward the thing 
that I am wanting to show you.
You will hear Me more clearly 
and so your response to life will become
more and more a response to My voice.
As I gave My life away 
by hearing My Father's voice,
so you will give away yours by hearing Mine.
Every day a gift of rest.
Every day a strengthening through trust.
You will stretch toward Me,
and we will stretch toward others.
Your quiet trust in Me allows a
 "beach chair" of rest for you every day.
When you are at rest,
you look a little bit more like Me.
My umbrella of grace 
is ever over you to rest in Me.
Oh, and one of these days, 
we just may go back to the beach.

I'm pretty sure I heard Him say that last line.

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