I’ve spent so much of this year suspended, caught somewhere between the leap from the cliff and the splash into the water. Appointments, tests, diagnoses, treatment attempts, reactions, and ever this incessant waiting.
Last week I began another treatment attempt—microscopic soldiers drip-drip-dripping into my veins to wage war on the Lyme spirochetes. We’re optimistic about this round, but cautiously so. I haven’t responded well to previous treatments, so we don’t know what, exactly, to expect.
How frantic I get in these in-between places, when I find myself at the mercy of my circumstances and my God. Like if I only work hard enough, check off every box on the healing to-do list, everything will turn out how I want.
I grasp at every bit of control I can and focus on doing, doing, doing, until I am exhausted.
I forget that rest brings healing.
Or I remember, but the bacteria in my nervous system make me restless. I have such a hard time slowing down. Still, that’s what I need most right now, so I’m finding peace where I can—often on the front porch swing, and most truly when I turn off the screens for a few minutes.
I look for the things that bring me back to center and camp out there. This week it’s been a choral arrangement of Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things.”
There is so much uncertainty right now, so much that makes me frenetic, so little peace.
I come into the peace of wild things
Who do not tax their lives with forethought
Of grief . . . (Berry)
A deep breath, and then another. A squirrel dashes across the yard, burying nuts in preparation for winter. Fall shadows dapple the lawn, and there is a breeze, thank heaven. Birds call from tree to tree. With each back and forth, the swing creaks and groans.
. . . For a time
I rest in the grace of the world and am free. (Berry)
Maybe you also know the uncertainty, the frantic running around, the inability to rest. Maybe you’re looking for a few moments of peace. May I suggest this?
If you're interested, the text of the poem is here.
I stumbled across this arrangement when Seth Haines posted it on his facebook page. Speaking of, his book Coming Clean released last week. It’s the story of his journey into sobriety, but it’s also a book for all of us about pain and the ways we try to avoid it.
His words about inner sobriety are hitting particularly close to home right now as it is this restlessness that often keeps me from peace and from prayer.
I’m looking forward to finally sitting down with this book in the next few days. You should check it out too. It’s a story that will challenge you and change you—one that will be well worth your time. You can find it here.