From my journal, Saturday, April 25, 2015

How rare, odd even, to sit quietly on my front patio and just, sit. In this moment it feels good to feel insignificantly significant, wanted but undemanded.

Perhaps the heaviest burden to bear is being unable to ever release one’s burdens. People needing this thing or that answer or this direction or that decision. It can be like the weight of Apollo bearing both the unbearable and banal at the same time. And, in the face of fatigue, it gets challenging to know the difference.

This becomes a source of longing. Our forearms ache from too much mousing. The face twitches from receiving-line forced smiles. The knees quake and quiver from running just a little too far. And the heart yearns for something barely recognizable, hidden in distant memory, largely inaccessible – rest.

Perhaps at the root of our longing is simply poor discernment of the needs of our own soul. We can harbor a frog-in-the-kettle faith that simply cooks rather than jumps out as the heat gets turned up. Could it be our distaste for those, forever crooning about self-care, whose lives already display an enviable lack of stress?

Why is it that those best at soul care are those who appear to have the least actual need for it? Is this a descriptive or prescriptive thing? Were God to “turn up the heat” a little on these comfortable lives, would their soul-talk descend as quickly into stress-talk as it does for everyone else? Or, is their slower, more inner regimen somehow the recipe for the slower, inner life they seem to enjoy? Is it commitment to self-care or neglect of reality that I observe? Should I praise or pity?

Either way, soul care is something we all need. I need. Sometimes the voices we hear insistently deny our need for what we can barely hear. And, the git ‘r done pragmatism of our culture only adds to the guilt of taking needed moments to breathe. So today, I willingly ignore those voices yelling “soul care? No, you’re just sorry for yourself,” and watch my roses blow in the afternoon wind.

Now I can hear, and must therefore say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”


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Robert Alan Rife

Robert Rife, M.A., minister of worship and music for Yakima Covenant Church (formerly Westminster Presbyterian) in Yakima, Washington, is a self-proclaimed book-nerd-word-herder, multi-instrumentalist (including Highland Bagpipes!), singer-songwriter, studio musician, choral director, poet, and liturgist. He maintains two personal blogs: Innerwoven and Robslitbits. He also blogs at Conversations Journal. Robert describes his vocation as exploring those places where life, liturgy, theology, and the arts intersect with and promote spiritual formation.

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