Saturday – August 9, 2014; Psalm 46:10
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”
Summertime and the living is easy…right? Well, maybe not so much…as while our kids are on vacation during the summer, often we are not, as we still have to work which means that we have to arrange/pay for child care for the younger kids, and then worry about what our older kids are doing to keep themselves occupied while we are at work.
Then, if we are able to take an actual vacation for ourselves, we can become even busier with our kids’ activities, from going to the pool, sports, and giving rides. For those who are fortunate enough to be able to afford a trip there is the planning, and the traveling, whether it is the long drive, managing flights, or hours in an uncomfortable seat on Amtrak…then once we arrive to where we are going, it often seems like it is non-stop: from sightseeing to arranging for activities, managing meals as well as dealing with small emergencies like cuts, belly aches and poison ivy!
I realize that I am not making summer and vacations sound all that much fun…but they are, some of my best memories came from long summer days spent playing with my daughter in the yard, or at the park, as well as some of the great vacations we were able to take. These are good times, fun times, but they can be very busy…and I have come back from vacation more tired than when I left…but also happier.
Face it, as single parents there just does not seem to be much time to ‘be still’ and no matter what the season, life often seems to be coming at us quickly and with very few breaks!
However, it is important for busy parents (single and otherwise) to find time to take a break from our busy-ness, a moment of peace and serenity…even if it is just for a few moments. We can use these moments to re-charge, and re-connect with God, and to remember that the weight of the world is not really on our shoulders, but that we are all safely in the hands of God, surrounded by love and grace, and the support that we need to face life on life’s terms.
In the past, I have found this stillness when I took a short bicycle ride to the lake, and sat up on a picnic table and watched the fish jumping through the shimmer surface of the water…watched the clouds pass overhead, skipped stones across the water and just listened to the sounds of nature. In these peaceful moments, I have prayed deeply and sincerely for God’s love and compassion to fill my heart, and see me and my daughter through whatever crisis we were facing…and then, when the crisis passed, I returned to give thanks.
I have also found this stillness in spending time with my girlfriend, who is a caring and kind person, and who has given me wisdom and more support and love than I deserved…and in doing so has shown me that God never leaves us alone in this life.
This serenity has also come while at my 12-step meetings, as the voice of God spoke to me through the other people in the room, who were helping each other stay sober by sharing the tools needed to manage the challenges of life. I have also known peace while at worship, joined in praise and celebration of God’s love with other people of faith, reminding me that life IS good here in our world and that while the negative voices often seem so loud, that there is so much more to be grateful for in our lives than there are reasons to despair.
And recently, I have found these moments of calm in getting to know my daughter all over again…as we have both grown up a great deal over the past year, and find ourselves spending the late night hours after I get home from work, just talking or laughing at some silly show on Netflix, enjoying the life we share together for the first time in years…aware that life continues to move forward and is always in flux…grateful for the time we now have to be a family.
So today…even if for just a moment, I encourage you all to be still…to take a break and enjoy the peace and calm…and to remember that God is always with us, both directly and through the love and faith we share together, and that God IS in charge…and that this knowledge can both be a relief and a blessing of hope.
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for being with us…through the Holy Spirit, the scriptures and through the love and faith we share with each other; and please let us remember that you are in charge, and that we do not have to be. Help us to find the time to be still, to take a break from our busy lives as single parents, and to listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, the water lapping on the shore, birds calling to each other, or to your voice speaking to us from another person. Let us also be that voice for others when they are in need…help us to share the stillness together as we strive to raise our children the best we can, and turn them over…in faith, to your loving care.