Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I have a rock where I go

I have a rock where I go
When there's too many people,
I have a rock where I go
Where no one can be;
I have a rock where I go,
Where nobody ever says "No";
Where nobody ever says anything--so
There is no-one but me.*

I'm on my morning walk, listening to a talk on my iPod.

I tread the impersonal suburban footpaths. I swish through dry grass under river red gums. I trudge through the car park and along the track around the oval. I come, breathless and sweaty, hot muscles twitching, shoes covered in seeds, to my rock.

It's just any old rock. It's one of those ordinary lumpy greyish brownish rocks used by landscapers that are supposed to make a landscape look natural but don't. It's just the right height for sitting, with a comfortable concave top. It's shaded by a youthful eucalypt and overlooks a small lake fringed with reeds.

I turn off my iPod and sit.

My ears soak up the silence and my eyes soak up the sunlight and my skin soaks up the shade. I watch blue herons stalking through the reeds, cormorants with outspread wings like right-way-up daytime bats, and wood ducks bobbing about in their homely fashion.

Here, in this rare moment of stillness, this mother of 4 prays for the day that's about to begin. I think about the coming responsibilities - the supermarket shop planned for that morning, the blog post I'm working on, school pick-up and time with children in the afternoon, dinner preparation, relaxation with a tired husband in the evening - and pray about each one.

I ask God to give me energy when I'm tired, patience when I'm irritable, and joy when I'm discouraged. I pray that he will help me to use my time well. I pray that I'll respond cheerfully when people interrupt my carefully laid plans. I ask him to give me strong arms for my tasks (Prov 31:17).

Some people start the day with a 'to do' list. Sometimes I do, mostly I don't. It's during this 5 minutes on my rock that I plan my day, prepare myself for its competing demands, and pray for God's grace in every moment.

It's time to go. My husband is minding our 2 year old at home, and I'd better get back so he can start his own work for the day. I sigh, stand up, turn on the iPod, and get my briefly rested muscles back into action.

I walk away from my rock just a little more ready to serve with energy, to love with self-forgetfulness, and to work with a willing heart.

* Changed just a little from A.A.Milne's poem "Solitude" in Now We Are Six.

images are from stock.xchng


Meredith said...

Hello dear Jean.

I think I was as refreshed and inspired by your post today as you were from the five minutes you had in your special place. Thankyou.

And I feel a measure of relief to have read it. I've been feeling a little concerned for you lately what with your rough start to the year, the heightened grief you must be feeling with your proximity (physical and personal) to the bushfires, working so hard (in your heart as well as your head) on those amazing posts on pride and comments to such significant posts being a little sparse.

And I know you don't write them to count the comments you receive (and I don't wish to make any of your dear readers uncomfortable so forgive me if I am...I am conspicuous by my own absence in Jean's comment box too) but I have wondered what to say in a comment to spur you on. And I never really came up with the right words.

But I have prayed. And I have today praised God for the gift of your inspiring start to the day. And also for the gift it was for me to read it. Such is the treasure in your blog. Thankyou for sharing your journey with us, which is always such a wonderful testimony to a life lived faithfully.

I hope tomorrow morning is just as good.

~ Meredith

Jean said...

Thank you, Meredith, for your encouragement and for your prayers.

While things have started in a difficult and overwhelming way this year, I'm actually starting to feel that there are enough hours in the day (praise God!) and a sense of peace that he is in control, and that everything that needs to be done, will be done. I had a blessed quiet morning playing with my son and doing some encouraging thinking about a passage in the Bible and a chapter of Chester's "You can change" today. So don't worry about me - I was feeling pretty down and stressed, but the year is falling into place, in God's good providence.

As for comments, it's ok, I've learned not to judge my posts by how many comments I receive. People don't tend to comment on the ones which seem "complete" - that doesn't mean they're not reading, I know they are. You all come out of the woodwork when I ask a question, which is wonderful!

Thanks again for the encouragement.

emma said...

Hi jean -
i have been reading your blog for a while but usually use up all my time reading so don't often comment (and i'm a bit shy at heart!), but this post reminded me that i should thank you. From whenever it was that you last mentioned it, i have adopted your 'help my arms be strong for the task' prayer. like you i have 4 children - though all of them boys, and i gather slightly younger (youngest is 2 on friday, and the oldest is nearly 8). it is such an apt prayer for this stage of my life, simple and easy to remember, yet oh-so-needed! thanks.

Jean said...

Thanks, Emma, it is always so encouraging to hear how I have encouraged others in their Christian walk. You don't often see the effects of what you write, so it's always encouraging to hear about it. Thank you! And I'm glad you find the prayer helpful.