25 January 2015

Pace and peace

The tile floor is warmer here, where I've been standing. I've been standing here for a while, thinking, sweating, sifting. Ellie is in her swing, burrito'd, Peter is asleep upstairs. Every few minutes, she opens one eye to make sure I'm still here, and I still am.

For I am sifting the world's grossest flour.

I want to calculate out how much of the five-pound bag has been eaten by these creatures...but it would be as demoralizing as the time I calculated my hourly pay as an elementary school teacher. It is a five-pound bag, and it will need to be sifted twice...at least. I'm glad it's been in the freezer for 24 hours, so there's nothing actively trying to escape.


But would I have slowed down for anything else? It's my impulse to keep on to "what's next"... But today is a sabbath, and it's made for me, not vice versa. (For proof, see Mark 2.) And this task too, even in its unavoidable activity, feels stiller. Scoop a heaping cup, put it in the sieve. Tap tap tap on the side of my scratched batter bowl...the baby stirs. Tap tap tap a little quieter, until the bugs start to show in the bottom--dump. Scoop a heaping cup...think on my week. Put it in the sieve...highs and lows and in between. Tap tap tap...still more to do, but it'll wait. Dump. Listen.

The club and its shouting DJ have finally stopped. The church services have ended. The last rara band has trundled by. 

Listen, there's words to what I'm listening to.

Can a rich man work to save his soul?
Can a rich man work to save his soul?
For every good deed, there's a million bad ones.
Can a rich man work to save his soul?

And that's why everyone--including me, maybe especially me--needs to stop and breathe. To be reminded how unimportant I am and yet how loved. In small details, devotionals and the comments of friends and time in His word and other "coincidences," God is teaching me about pace. How slow and steady still loses the race unless you trust in Jesus...and yet it matters. Pace determines peace in large part. Forcing my focus back to what matters most only happens in stillness, in the slow. 

Thank God for buggy flour; can it really be grace? 

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