“He got out! Again!”
Abby’s tired voice echoed through the air. She, her two-year-old brother James, Tom, and I were staying at my parents’ house in two adjoining bedrooms. But although Abby was snuggled into bed, James was exuberantly running around the room.
Hearing Abby’s exasperated voice, my parents, Tom, and I arrived on the scene to investigate. Yet, for the life of us we couldn’t figure out how to get our favorite toddler to fall asleep. He wouldn’t be safe in a crib because he’d climb out. He couldn’t sleep on an open mattress on the floor because he’d spend hours wandering around the room (as we’d discovered several nights earlier during an unfortunate hotel stay). He needed to be contained.
So, we’d fashioned a fortress of sorts for him, constructed out of an armoire, bookcase, two sides of a crib, a large plastic bin filled with wrapping paper, several daybed cushions, and a crib mattress. Everything was solidly adjoined with several layers of duct tape.
Still, James managed to escape from his impromptu fortress three times.
Ironic how when I think back on that day, my thoughts turn to God and God’s inability at times to get us to rest. Sometimes, we need to stop for a while- stop working, stop worrying, stop being distracted, stop talking. But, amidst all of the items on our to-do lists, our anxiety, and our obligations, we find it incredibly hard to do so. God resorts to knocking us off our feet and building a fortress of sorts around us, despite our protests and repeated efforts to break free.
It’s a gift to stand still, to pause, to take a deep breath, to gain perspective. God never intended for anyone to move and work all hours of the day and night. This is as true for two-year-olds as it is for 37-year-olds and 54-year-olds. When you find yourself rushing and spinning out of control, accept the invitation to stop for a while.
Let’s pray together:
Move within us, so we might be still. Teach us the beauty of stopping for a while. And, when we refuse, please knock us off our feet. Amen.