It is 4:28 p.m., and I am conscious of the fact that in exactly three hours and thirty-two minutes, confirmation class will be over and it will, officially, be my day off. I am conscious of this fact because I am ready for the day away. It has been a week too full of sadness and pain for too many members of our congregation. It has been an emotional week for me, as we move ahead with more medical tests on our way toward making a baby the hard way, and a tiring week for Matt, because he's been sick. And so I am ready for tomorrow. Ready for a Friday-afternoon walk around the Arboretum, especially if it is snowing (like they say it will be). Ready for another chance to get the kitchen cleaned up and the laundry put away. Ready for a morning of sitting on the couch, in my pjs, knitting and watching PBS travel shows.
As a pastor, I have the peculiar blessing of being invited into sacred and vulnerable places in people's lives. I don't for a moment take this blessing for granted. And I certainly do not resent it. It's beautiful, it's God-given, it's holy.
But even amidst the holy, I find that I need equally holy moments of quiet, of refreshingly empty space, of deep breaths and being still.
This morning, faced with all of the ongoing weight of this week, I turned on a CD of a choir concert from my senior year of college. I picked this CD for its first track, William Billings' setting of Psalm 42. During choir tour, I gave the devotion before one of our concerts, and shared with my fellow choir members the peace that I took from this particular poetic rendering of the psalm, especially the second stanza: "Why restless, why cast down, my soul? Hope still and thou shalt sing the praise of him who is thy God, thy health's eternal spring." I still remember the way that my choir director caught my gaze that evening as we sang those two simple words:
Words I needed to hear this morning, as I started counting hours toward tomorrow's day off and as I yearned for some moment of peace and quiet for my restless soul, and peace for those around me. There was no question about which CD I was going to pull off the shelf, and which track I was going to listen to - even twice in a row. I needed to hear those two words: