and so we rest

Write 31 days, day 28
Writing Prompt: Song

Like good music, life’s composition must vary. Too often, we try to match our lives to Rimsky’s The Flight of the Bumblebee. We seek to live prestissimo–as fast as possible, but a life lived so quickly is both uninteresting and unsustainable. Instead, our life’s song fluctuates. It is sometimes fast, and sometimes slow; sometimes joyful and lively, but at other times somber and dark. There are places for both major and minor keys.

And there are times for rest. Rests are not the absence of music, but an essential part of the score. I was anticipating a joyful and lively day spent with dear friends, drinking in the beauty of their country setting. Yet, circumstances have changed. The score now reveals a rest and so we pause, and rather than playing on, we listen.

For reflection: Spend some time thinking about how music evokes emotion. 

I just wanted a betta

Write 31 days, day 26
Writing prompt: Moment

“I think I’m going to get a betta.” My wife looked at me, assuming I was joking. I told her I was quite serious, that I really liked fish, and that I thought it would be fun to have one. As a family, we already have 3 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, 8 sugar gliders, and a horse, so why not a fish?

A betta in a bowl soon progressed to a 20 gallon tank, but I didn’t get the betta. Instead, I got an Australian rainbow, a silver dollar, two guppies, and a pearl gourami. That was just a few weeks ago. Not too long after, my wife asked if I might want a second tank for my birthday. “Sure. That would be cool.” Never one to disappoint, she scoured Craigslist. She first brought home a 40 gallon tank, but it was too scratched up. Then she found another 20 gallon, which was in really nice shape. But last weekend we found a garage sale that had a nice 70 gallon tank.

You might imagine where this is going.

Today, we went and bought some more fish. I now have 4 mollies, 4 silver hatchets, 1 upside down catfish, 1 ghost catfish, 1 cory, 1 pearl gourami, a pleco, 1 Australian rainbow, 2 catfish, 1 blood parrot, and 1 firemouth cichlid in a 70 gallon tank and a 20 gallon tank. I also set up another 20 in my youngest’s bedroom. She has 7 guppies, a cory, and a betta.

Twenty-six fish, all because I wanted a betta. Yet I have no regrets. I sit here and stare at them. I get lost in the present moment and, for a little while anyway, the hurries of the world melt away.

For reflection: try identify something that allows you to get lost in the moment, and then do it.

The Pause

Write 31 days, day 17
Writing Prompt: Pause

“What happened to my day?” I wondered aloud as I walked through the nurse’s station at quarter past four. How could it possibly be this late? The day was not particularly overburdened patient-wise, but I’ve been at my desk for over nine hours, minus the brief visit with my wife over lunch. Patients were seen and reports were written, but without a break to catch my breath.

Normally, I take time to pause. Before the workday starts, I sit in the corner chair, eyes closed, and ponder Christ’s presence. Later in the morning, or perhaps mid-afternoon, I take a walk. A slow walk. I saunter. Amble. I listen to the leaves and watch the birds. I feel the breeze upon my neck or the sun upon my face. I breathe. Life is better when I am not hurrying through it.

For consideration: take five minutes to pause today. Or thirty. 

Superball

My mind is a superball
incessantly
unpredictably bouncing
seemingly unable to remain at rest.

Superballs are fun
though they aren’t good for much else.

Like a toddler at play
I move
I move
rarely slowing for rest.

The Father says,
“come touch my knee.”

I resist.
Again…”come touch my knee.”

I do so, reluctantly,
but my mind still bounces around the room.

“Look at me, son.”
I turn to look at Him,
but like the superball,
my eyes bounce away after a short second.

“Look at me.”
I try again to hold His gaze,
a few seconds longer this time.

He remains patient and tender.
I draw an uneven breath and, holding it, look.

There is stillness in His eyes
and love in His smile.

I relax.

How long before I bounce away again?

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