"Your love is like a river
Peaceful and deep
Your soul is like a secret
That I never could keep
When I look into your eyes
I know that it's true
God must have spent...
A little more time
I've always liked this song, "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You," from n Sync. It reminds me of taking our daughter to dance competitions and rehearsals all over Colorado, but it also reminds me of the way that I felt about myself when I looked in the mirror this morning. I have been spending all of my time patiently letting God bathe me in His love...His enduring view of me...and it's made such a difference in the way I see myself and others.
Over twenty years ago I was facing a life-threatening...and very painful...illness, a disappointed adoption, the collapse of my marriage, and the loss of my career. Not a good day at the office...so they say.
In the midst of all this I called someone who had been my spiritual mentor and teacher and I will never forget something he said to me, "There will come a day when you will miss this time, and long for this experience." I couldn't believe he was saying this to me. I was in pain, my heart was broken and I felt like I had no purpose or reason to live, and he thought I would miss feeling this way???
But I did. Long after the pain had dissolved, the marriage was on stronger footing, I had returned to work, and we'd adopted our daughter, I remembered his words and had to admit that I did miss the urgency I'd felt every moment when I woke longing for God's tangible presence in my life and in my heart. I missed the days when every minute was spent on my knees in prayer, at Christ's table hungering and thirsting for the inspired Word, and watching each thought with the alertness of a sentry.
There was a sadness that I had not trusted his counsel. I was too worried that the pain would never end, that I would be left forever alone and homeless, and that I would never know motherhood...to savor those days of hungry prayer.
There have been other opportunities over the years, but in the moment I would usually forget his counsel...again...to fully "love the journey." I would have moments where I could see the beauty of holiness, enjoy the landscape, and rest upon the lessons I was learning, but for the most part, I wanted whatever challenge I was facing to be over as soon as possible.
But not this time. When I suffered a disabling injury four weeks ago, as I described in "...and He walks with me..." from February 26, 2009 (or you can scroll down 4 posts to read), I realized that I had been given a gift. In those moments, in bed with the Bible Lesson and the story of Joseph, I saw that this was not a challenge to be overcome...no matter how aggressively the pain screamed...but an opportunity to savor a journey. I can honestly say that I have not been anxious since that moment when "And the Lord was with Joseph..." reminded me that I was not a broken mortal in bed writhing in pain, but the child of God blessed with space to cherish time with her divine Parent. From that first moment of happiness, in just being "with Him," I have felt completely at peace.
Whether in bed, on crutches, hobbling to the kitchen or crawling up the stairs to wake the girls for school, I have been happy and patient...grateful for each quieter, slower moment to savor my relationship with Him.
So, this is my moment of grace. I have loved every second of this journey with Him. My friend was right. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to remember his wisdom and to be aware of the gift when it came again.
I think this may be what Mary Baker Eddy was referring to when she said, "The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares. Then thought gently whispers: "Come hither!" We are all called into closer union with Him...given opportunities for quiet time alone with Love...for nestling more deeply into Her arms. It is only our suffering SENSE of things that would identify those experiences as wrathful and afflictive. Or, at least, this is what I believe I am glimpsing...and experiencing...with more clarity of late. But isn't this what is "oh, so lovely" about spirituality...it is so uniquely experiential...so completely individual.
My experience has been sweet...for me. The crutches are almost ready to be returned to the nursing facility. I will soon be more fully engaged in the day-to-day logistics of work and family, and I will enjoy the freedom of renewed flexibility and strength. But this time I will not be left with a feeling of regret for my impatience and anxiety. I have felt none. I have been happy. I have cherished every single moment of this journey. I have savored every drop of the Word, treasured every moment alone with Him, and am now ready to go forward refreshed and happy...still happy.
Thank you Father, for spending so much time with me...I am grateful...and happy to be your loved daughter, When I look in the mirror, I know that it's true...I have spent a little more time with You.
Kate Robertson, CS