I was not made to work on cars, or wash houses, or paint guard shacks or weld. I wasn’t created to design games or paper packages, or build houses and trails. No one set me on this earth to write, to move rocks, to plant trees or mow lawns. These certainly are all things I can do, have done, and could do well with time and practice. Some of them are things I should do, occupations or chores which are a part of life – but they are not my purpose. I believe like us all I was made first and foremost to live! To know what is meant by that phrase. And if as some say life consists of work, but as others say a man come into his own would scarcely tell the difference between his work and his play then I think my life should in part consist of many quiet moments like today.
To me life is found not mostly in the living, but in the time taken to reflect on what has been done and what is still yet to come. Here is where I go quietly to observe life, when I’m not busy living it: to restive places like the mountains and mountain valleys, little streams and starlit rivers. City lights above deserted streets which I walk in waking sleep. And alone, a few feet up a rope ladder I made myself, in a tiny verdant city all my own.
Today I am blessed and thankful for my perch amidst the trees where I can watch a baby deer napping just below, thin and innocent, sweetly drowsy on wobbly legs. I can see the chipmunk that lives in the rock wall I built sunning itself on a fallen branch. The birds are chirping just a few feet overhead. I’ll even enjoy the bumble bee that’s been licking the salt off my legs for the last ten minutes.
Musing on the plywood deck of our tree house eleven feet off the ground one sunny Sunday, I thank the Lord for teaching me that all my talents are not mine but his and are at his command. I pray he’ll teach me to love his service, to know his desire – and I know I will never work a day in my life.
How I long for release. Not some quiet peace that steals slowly over my soul as I sit here astride this noisy stream – though that I would gladly take. I want total release of toil and strain like a giant I have read of in a forgotten soldier’s recollected nightmare, shrieking his pain into the hazy red sky as metal angels of death in swarms ceaselessly protest his continued existence. I want to let out all the little torments, the setbacks, the long festering pinpricks and unacknowledged shackles in one racking cry and have done. So seldom is this luxury afforded us. So little have I experienced to earn it.
I came to this place in answer to an irrepressible call, a summation of forces from every direction which reaching critical mass allows only one outlet to its power, a solution describable more as an undeniable imperative than a conscious thought: the all consuming urge to escape. To tear out the driveway and run to exhaustion and whatever silence one may find. I never regret following this impulse. As usual, but not as always, God appears outside the norm, on an accidental side track to the race. He speaks to one willing to enter the inexorable flow of brooks and souls through time, to assume the imperturbable serenity of a frog motionless on a tiny rock in the midst of the stream. Today I am a blue and gray and orange frog perched on a rusting metal rock at rest in the midst of a stream of water and events.
Our tiny refuges provide solace and sustenance for a brief while – all that is necessary to return rejuvenated to the fight, the race, the river of life.