I always feel pleasantly drained after a day at the beach.
Drugged, almost, by the abundance of sound- waves washing over pebbles and sand, swishing over bits of seaweed and sticks; the almost surf-like rustling of leaves and grass; birds singing and screeching as they dance and dive in the wind.
Sometimes I go home feeling as dry and washed out as the driftwood, but relaxed and rested all the same.
We've been wondering why we're feeling so dog-gone tired these days. Bone aching, spirit draining fatigue. Emotional exhaustion.
Biology is playing a part, to be sure. I failed my blood test last week. I should have studied harder, I guess. So, besides the weariness that comes with encroaching old age, I'm still very anaemic.
But, beyond the aches and pains of life, besides late nights and early mornings, what is it that keeps us feeling so tired. Sluggish. Lazy. Slothful. Sleepy.
We've been wondering if it's not just the nature of The Field.
We've been running in fourth gear for the better part of twenty years. I observed, many years ago now, that I was living from event to event, telling myself that I just had to get through "this" thing, and then I could relax, only to realize that as soon as "this" thing was over, there was a new "this" thing to prepare for.
I actually feel, today- right now, the way I felt about day three into our stay on The Isle of Iona two summers ago.
Except for the occasional vehicle on the highway, the sounds and feel of the space I'm in is quite like that Island off the north-west coast of Scotland. Sitting on the swing with my eyes closed I can almost imagine that the wind in the trees is the North Atlantic Ocean. The sunshine, hot on my legs, is tempered by the cooler breeze, as it was there. Birds, cows... all we need are some sheep in the next field.
My point is, if there is a point, that maybe the absence of city noise- distractions, neighbours, constant traffic, the hum of power and telephone lines... combined with the complete quietness of the field has a relaxing and soporific effect.
Maybe, in spite of my brain's planning, contriving and calculation, my body, spirit and emotions are being relaxed as they feed on the fullness of silence.
Maybe I'm so tired, (iron deficiency and old age notwithstanding) because twenty years of city stresses are being leached out of my spirit.
It is slowly dawning on my beach-drugged mind, that rest does not equal sloth. That inactivity is not, of necessity, a damnable thing. That rather than holding on with both hands until this or that curve of the ride is over, and then trying to quickly catch one's breath while the roller coaster climbs the next rise, it is better to learn restful balance.
Randall and I talked about what God would teach us, here in The Field. Make no mistake- every situation he's called us to has not been for the church alone. Maybe they learned something too; maybe we helped them somehow; but we can see the things that God taught us, and chart our own growth and maturing process along the way.
We wondered, then, what this phase in our life would be about.
I'm beginning to think that this might be the place God has chosen to bring us to learn balance. To learn a better, more graceful way of living.
That thought actually brings a hopeful little leap of joy to my soul.
Less holding on for the ride, then, and more learning to relax my grip on life.
Less spinning, more unravelling.
Less striving, more grace.