Sunday, 11 February 2018 13:06

The Braver Thing

Written by  Priscilla K. Garatti

I pulled the string on the blinds, like unzipping the day, the sky milky, a few raindrops falling on the windowpane.  A lone bird sang--its melody piercing the dreary day.  I wanted to be that bird--to have a song on my lips.  Yet inside all I could think about was all I had to do.  Get to the filing stacked in the corner, falling over and spilling onto the floor.  Wasn't staying organized on the computer supposed to stop the paper pile up?  My mind raced...laundry, take a walk, help my husband with yardwork, write emails, devise menus for the week, clean the bathroom, sign up for conference, work on taxes, practice language, verb drills, banking. I had the day off.  Surely the time didn't have to consist solely of "to-dos."  Surely there could be something more appealing than the list I'd stored up in my mind.  I snapped the blind shut and whispered, "Stop.  Don't do this to yourself.  Surely, this non-stop flurry in your brain is not what God would have for you this day."  I asked a question then.  "God, what would you have for me today?"  Then He posed this question to me: "What part of your kingdom inheritance do you want most this day?"   "I want to be unpressured.  I want peace.  I want to feel unhurried," I said.  "You possess those things in me.  Take them.  Sit down.  Rest."

I opened the blinds again.  I could see the little bird now.  He perched on a thin tree branch, gusts of wind making the limb bob up and down.  But still he sang, his eyes shiny black beads.  He seemed to be encouraging me to come outside with his sweet warbling.  I donned my rain jacket and headed out to the tidal creek.  I prayed as I walked.  "God I want to learn to rest, let go, inside this beautiful, chaotic world, but sometimes I don't know what this means for me--what would you have me do?"

"It's not about 'doing,'" He seemed to say.  "Living is not about your self-effort, but rather my life lived through you.  And it's not meant to be difficult, though I know what it's like living in the world.  I did it too.  Remember my admonition, "I have told you these things so that in me you might have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). I looked out over the creek waters.  The rain had stopped, and the sun shone through the pale sky.  Ducks swam fluidly down the current.  A pelican sat on a dock ramp, unruffled and peaceful.  Often I hurry away when I'm at the creek.  "Things to do, things to do," I say to myself.  This day I thought, "I don't want to leave.  I will receive being 'unhurried.'"  I sat down under the big oak there at the creek's edge, even though the earth was slightly wet.  I prayed.  "Thank you, God, for your peace.  Thank you that the pressure I placed on myself has eased away.  Thank you that I don't have to hurry.  That I can slow my pace and all will be well.  Thank you that you teach me through your creation--the birds, the flowing waters, the sun and sky, the ancient oak."

I believe I chose the braver thing.  A paradox.  It can seem more courageous in my thinking to take on the identity of the rugged individualtist--"I'm going to make this happen, if it's the last thing I do."  Yet receiving kingdom inheritance is more like, "God show me what's next.  I receive your wisdom, your favor, your emotional stability, your mental equilibrium, your psychological buoyancy."  Rest is marbilized within this paradox--the list accomplished inside the beauty of being unpressured, peaceful, unhurried.   

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What Readers Are Saying

In Missing God Priscilla takes a brave and unflinching look at grief and the myriad ways in which it isolates one person from another. The characters are full-bodied and the writing is mesmerizing. Best of all, there is ample room for hope to break through. This is a must read.

Beth Webb-Hart (author of Grace At Lowtide)

winner"On A Clear Blue Day" won an "Enduring Light" Bronze medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

winnerAn excerpt from Missing God won as an Honorable Mention Finalist in Glimmertrain’s short story “Family Matters” contest in April 2010.