quiet {day 28}

28 Oct

I can feel my soul getting thin.

That spring, I begin to know how I feel. For a few months, I rest. I stop the coffee. I stop the shoulds. I eat breakfast and lunch. I drink water and take my pills. I sing and dance and write three things. I stop freaking out, as much as I can, because I can’t afford to. A sermon or a paper or a perfect dinner is not worth a breakdown.

It’s as if the dial’s turned just slightly. At first, there is radio static. Then, I can hear myself, clear as day. I can hear what I think, what I feel. I begin to think simple things: This cake smells good. Those leaves are lovely.

For the first time, I can feel when my soul grows thin. I can feel when there are too many tasks and not enough mind. My thoughts circle. I make lists and feel too worried to do them. Or I feel listless. I refresh Facebook one, two, three times.

Before, I have always barreled my way through, all caffeine and worry and adrenaline. But now, I stop. I breathe deep. I ask myself what it is that I need.

When I was young, I read a verse from my purple teen Bible. I didn’t understand the chapter around it that talked about Assyria and Egypt and some alliance. But I understood this. I underlined it: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.

I read it again. I understand Assyria and Egypt and the alliance now. But I underline that passage again, in my hardcover theologian’s Bible with its critical apparatus and its notes from the Greek. Maybe if I kept reading those words, I would begin to believe them. Returning and rest. Quietness and trust.

My soul is thin. It is in need of saving, in need of strength. So I return.

I return to old prayers that I loved. I return to the kitchen, sauteing onions and garlic in olive oil, stirring rice and wine into a risotto. I breathe it deep, and I think that heaven must smell like olive oil and aromatics. I play CDs of old hymns and acoustic guitars. I sing myself home.

I walk away from achievements and grades and gold stars for a moment. I empty my hands, and I pick up simple things. I pick up novels and spatulas and dishrags.

All these months later, I feel that thin soul again. I begin to feel frantic, like I need to do something, I need to read something, I need to prove myself, I need to find a job right now.

I know what to do. It is eighty degrees and sunny. I drive until I see the Pacific, blue in my windshield. I put down the pressure, the panic, and I pick up small things, quiet things: a book, a towel, a pair of sandals.

I sit, quiet. I dig my toes into the thick sand. A bikini-ed mom teaches her son how to surf, and they hug and scream over his first big wave. I think simple things: The sun is warm. I like this book. The sky is so clear today. I notice small things: a white plane against blue sky, waves crashing against rocks, gulls fishing in the shallow water, children playing in tide pools.

I return. I sit with simple things, quiet things. As the sun beats down and the waves roll in, I am saved.

This post is part of a series, 31 Days of Healing. Check out Day 1 or the complete list of posts. If you want to follow along, you can also subscribe by email or subscribe in a feed reader. Or “like” the blog on Facebook. (We’re all about options here.) And thanks for reading!

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2 Responses to “quiet {day 28}”

  1. Rebecca Kuhns October 31, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    beautiful post! i always loved that verse as well. something about it just speaks to the spirit.

    • Christina November 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      Rebecca,
      Doesn’t it?

      A little sidenote: I was rereading it the other day for this post. I had always felt just a little guilty about applying it to my life (it’s the post-seminary We Have To Read Everything In Its Original Context Or Else), but I realized that Israel was acting out of a sense of anxiety and inferiority, too–a feeling that they were not enough. They needed to keep “doing,” to shore up their safety, just in case God wasn’t enough for them. I’m the same way, except my “doing” isn’t making a treaty with Egypt to protect myself…

      Maybe human beings have not changed as much as we think. Thanks for reading, friend!

      Just something I thought was interesting… :)

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