May is one of our busiest months. Everything seems to happen at once. I love to go birding, and here in Colorado, May is the peak of spring migration. It’s also the month when my garden wakes up. I can’t wait to get my fingers back into the soil, sowing seeds outdoors, setting out started seedlings, and pulling the weeds that have been sleeping all winter. At the same time, work continues, bills must be paid, clothes still get dirty, and we still get hungry.
With our schedules full, Pete and I had been communicating in sound bites. “Heading to the store, need anything?” “Can you stop at the bank for me?” “Don’t forget, tonight is our small group meeting.” We hadn’t had a real conversation in weeks. We really needed some quality time. Happily, we’d scheduled just that—back in January.
Today is Good Friday. If there was ever a time I want to spend with God, it would be today. This is the day when I want to post something deep and truly significant. Something that brings us into the presence of the Father. Something that points to Jesus, His sacrifice, His love.
Why then is that so hard?
I didn’t run away from God. It was more of a drift, a gradual replacement of time normally dedicated to Him. Three weeks on the road—two weeks with the grandkids—will do that. Getting up early to go birding, eating breakfast on the run instead of at home with my Bible by my plate. Being woken at the first glimmer of dawn by two giggly little girls wanting to snuggle with Grandma and Papa Pete. Days full of familiar friends, new places, flowers, birds, and family. I didn’t run away from God. I got distracted.
We finally arrived home this week after driving 4,000 miles through nine states. After unpacking my suitcase, sorting the mail, and starting the first load of laundry, I sat down to write. Nothing came; my mind was a blank. But what about all those inspiring ideas I’d had while praying as I drove across Wyoming, Utah, Nevada? I’d never had a chance to write them down. They were forgotten. Worse, God wasn’t giving me any new insights. I felt disconnected. Distant. Chagrined that I’d let my most important relationship languish.
I finally have a day off.
Believing that God wants us to take a day out every week as our “Sabbath,” I’ve set aside every Thursday as my day of rest and reflection. (Sunday might be traditional, but it doesn’t work for us, since we volunteer in our church’s café at 6 a.m., then attend Sunday school followed by the service, then take my dad out for lunch and shopping afterward. We get home mid- to late afternoon, exhausted.)
Taking Thursday off might be my intention, but it doesn’t always fit reality. For the last few weeks, I’ve spent the day packing for a camping trip, cleaning the house for guests, balancing our checkbook and paying bills… and I couldn’t do those things earlier because I was doing other important and urgent things. Life happens. But this week, I’m taking a day off to rest, relax, drink tea, read, pray, and contemplate the state of my world. It’s heaven.
For the second time in as many months, someone near and dear to me has announced that they’re going through a crisis of faith. One person is still struggling, questioning God’s very existence, while the other has concluded that God does not exist.
In both cases, I knew they were investigating various philosophical viewpoints, but they presented themselves as solid believers. There was no hint of the struggle happening on the inside, until each one in turn chose to disclose it.
These pronouncements have left friends and families reeling. Both spouses were blindsided. They thought the faith they shared was the firm foundation of their respective marriages. Now, the most important part of their lives has become a divisive issue.