This is a short tale of two benches.
The first bench was centered in a mecca of activity and artificial grass.
On the first day of May, Portland reached 90 degrees.
This 70 degree loving gal headed to a tree-shaded bench
while Caleb and friends played soccer on the Adidas campus.
There was constant activity on this concourse and I found myself feeling
as if I had stumbled into a visual catalog
of Adidas apparel and footwear.
Despite the hustle and bustle of those clad in 3 striped uniforms,
I opened my book and settled in to read.
Every so often I would raise my head and see soccer balls sailing
into the ocean of sky then I would quickly return to my page.
The second bench was nestled in the midst of creation and chirping birds:
This day was not a blue saturated sky day.
The morning was hazy and cloud heavy.
Squint in the center of the photo and you might see Mt. Hood camouflaged
under an umbrella cloud.
Courtney and I were high atop the world at Mt. Angel Abbey.
We circled the grounds, smiled and greeted the monks.
Upon hearing the bells toll, we felt centered as
we entered the church, fumbled to quickly move the
ribbon markers to their assigned places
in the prayer binders
and found a pew to unite our mouths and hearts with others.
For me, I mainly tried not to weep.
After wandering through the bookstore and
feasting our eyes upon homemade confections,
we found a bench overlooking the town below and
felt our cares and concerns from ground dwelling
It was a challenge to command our knees to straighten.
But our burdens felt lightened as soon as we
lifted our bags of
mementos and fudge and
began our trek back to the parking lot.
Books and rest are of key importance to my days.
I sat upon two benches last week in two different settings.
One crammed full of activity and the other whispering serenity.
Would you believe I found rest in both places?
It is essential to learn how and when to rest.
Rest is an action as well as an attitude.
My hope for you this weekend is that you will
find rest in familiar and new ways.
I believe it is possible to find rest anywhere.
Look for those spaces of time where you
can carve out some precious moments of heart rest.
No matter how many people surround your day,
take a breath and make it your pursuit to find
a sanctuary in the midst of the clamor.
Who knows who might catch a glimpse
of your heart at rest despite the landscape?
Your example might give others permission
to rest right along with you.
It’s an open invitation…join me!