The kitchen was messy on Friday. The toaster was still on the counter from the morning. The clean dishes in the dishwasher needed to be put away so that the pile of dirty dishes in the sink could be cleaned. There were bagels next to the kindergarten homework folder… next to three half-full glasses of water with straws standing tall… next to a document I needed to return to my son’s preschool… next to the cantaloupe rinds that were supposed to be taken to the compost out back. The floor was covered with gray dirt spots and I was frustrated that all of those toys I put away yesterday had found their way to the floor in front of the oven.
Dinner was less than stellar: breakfast burritos and leftover fruit. The older two boys were burping and finding great delight in it. My toddler Simon started throwing blueberries on the floor.
The world around me seemed to be covered by the haze of my heart that didn’t have the energy to discipline or find joy or be creative. How can I find delight in this? How can I find energy for this? How can the light deep within me break through the haze that I feel so tangibly? My soul felt run over and treaded upon. Hidden. Not truly what I knew it to be. Part of me wanted to yell at my boys to shape up, part of me wanted to be free to laugh at their ridiculous burps, and part of me wanted to escape to my bedroom and curl up with silence and a good book.
The air of the week matched the haze over my heart.
Perhaps you’ve been in a smoggy city on a still, hot summer day. That was the kind of week we were having. The annual brown sky of summer had settled over California’s central valley. On clear days, we can see both the beautiful coastal ranges to the west and the huge Sierra Nevada range to the east. But during those hazy days like that day, even the small mountain close to us is indistinct, lacking the beauty that it normally broadcasts clearly for all who will glance its way.
My heart longed for brilliant blue in the skies above and clear sunshine in my soul below.
So, I took some time on Sunday afternoon. I left my husband with the boys at home and I escaped to a place where I could have some space—some time with the One who never uses me as a means to an end, who is never manipulative or coercive, and who is always ready to put all else aside to fill up my soul. I drove three miles to a local regional park.
As soon as I stepped out of my car, I felt the wind, cooled by the nearby waterway, whipping through my hair and the trees around me and the brown grass of the field in front of me. I could feel it pulling the haze off my mind and out of my heart. I glanced up and there above me were beautiful blue skies, the deepest blue, speckled by a handful of feathery white clouds. I looked behind me and saw the clear, beautiful outline of a majestic mountain—looking as if it had been waiting to brag about its sharp profile for weeks.
Over the next two hours, as the wind made noise through the trees and dried grasses and across the blue waters, God reminded me of the way he sees me. He knew how badly I needed a break from the haze (both physical and mental), and he provided a space and a way for that to happen. He invited me to come and sit with him for a bit. I sat before him and layed out the ways in which I had been feeling run over and treaded upon and worried and stretched.
And he reminded me that he delights to bring clarity, perspective and full life.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
He filled me up with the beautiful blue skies of his expansive wisdom, knowledge, love and care. And that sunshine found its path out of my heart to and back into my home when I returned.
At dinner that night, I was even able to laugh at my toddler’s well-timed burp.