Exile

IMG_8693

This morning I awakened in the kind of pain that makes it difficult to move. I knew what it was, knew what was needed, and so for the second time in ten years, I called in to work to let them know I would be staying home today. I’ve been resting, using ice, and stretching. I am doing better—still moving gingerly, but better. My friend Shelly says that if we neglect our Sabbath time, sometimes we will enter into a time of forced Sabbath. I must admit this feels good—to stay in my PJs late into the morning, listen to my body and heed its call.

The truth is, work has been hard lately. Just yesterday I suffered a bit of disillusion after an exchange with some of my colleagues. Sometimes a system can feel too big to change unless we work together, and often the people we serve take the brunt of this kind of stagnation. Sometimes a system can feel so big that individuals get caught up in their own agendas and resist working together for change because it might require much. I feel myself being pulled toward this way. Yesterday, in a very small way, I felt like Jeremiah—my voice falling on empty ears. It was a hard place to be and I didn’t like it. So, this morning I am resting my tender heart, collecting the manna of this moment.

Eugene Peterson defines exile as “being where we don’t want to be with people we don’t want to be with.” Of course, he was speaking of the Jewish exiles in Babylon at first, but he is skillful to draw a quick parallel to our lives today. That’s how I felt yesterday. Like I was in exile.

When the Israelites are in Babylon, Jeremiah sends them a letter from Jerusalem. “Build houses and make yourselves at home,” he says. “Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. Marry and have children. … Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare. Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.”

“The aim of a person of faith,” says Peterson, “is not to be as comfortable as possible but to live as deeply and thoroughly as possible—to deal with the reality of life, discover truth, create beauty, act out love.”

Today it feels like I am hiding from the reality of life. But tomorrow? I pray I will be able to jump back in, to “discover truth, create beauty, act out love.” I will continue in this discovery of what it means to belong to God in this place I do not want to be.

Exile.

 

Comments

  1. says

    “The aim of a person of faith,” says Peterson, “is not to be as comfortable as possible but to live as deeply and thoroughly as possible—to deal with the reality of life, discover truth, create beauty, act out love.”

    Laura, these heartening words go straight to my soul today (and this aging body—I’m headed for and S.O.S. chiropractor app’t this afternoon). May your PJ Day bring recovery and deep rest, a transfusion of hope!

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey says

    Laura, I’m so sorry you are in pain. Ugh. It colors all we do. And yes, sometimes, you really need to baby yourself and rest. I pray the pain ceases! I think likely you are still reading Peterson’s “Horses” book–one of my favorites. And truth be told, we will always be exiles in this world of hours. How wonderful, though, that we take home along with us, because Christ is our Home, and He has chosen to make HIS home *with* and *in* us. Praise be to God!
    Love you so much.
    Lynn

  3. says

    Take it easy and get better. Love the idea of building and prospering in our difficult times of exile. It helps us to see the value in these times and know that life goes on and is meant to be lived fully.

  4. says

    Oh, Laura, I pray your time home was a balm to your body and soul. Pray your pain eases. Thank you for being so kind to me in the midst of your own pain. Mark Labberton in his book, Called, says exile is the model often used in the New Testament for our sojourn. ((hugs))

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *