Quiet Sunday in the Rain: A Little Bit of Heaven

Despite the rain, we have had an enjoyable family weekend. We took Grandma out for lunch at a lovely English country pub with home-cooked food. Afterwards, we drove through little villages filled with chocolate box cottages, past fields whose edges were scattered with perky daisies and nodding poppies. I couldn’t help but marvel, even in all the rain, even under the greyest of grey English skies, how incredibly beautiful the landscape is. It feels more like home than anywhere else. I don’t mean that any particular stretch of countryside, or any particular place feels like home, I just mean the act of being in the wandering lanes feels like home, especially in the rain, passing fields and hedgerows and elegant cypresses. The grey skies and the rain seem to make the green even greener; even the air is scented with a fresh, full-bodied scent that one can only find on an English summer’s afternoon in the rain. It’s the type of smell that makes me think of scones and jam and teapots and camping and gentle chatter and… well, home. I wonder if heaven will be a little bit like that? I hope so.

Rain, Steam and Speed by J.M.W. Turner, 1844 (wonderful painting – so ahead of its time!)

Anyway, now we’re home. Grandma is back at the care home. My dear MIL becomes distressed and very confused if she’s still out by late afternoon so nowadays we make sure she’s back in time for tea. She was tiring by the end anyway. Fluff and Chip are at their swimming lesson and I’m about to pop a cake in the oven for tea. What could be better than this?

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in fields of green grass
    and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.
He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths,
    as he has promised.
Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
    I will not be afraid, Lord,
    for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.

You prepare a banquet for me,
    where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honoured guest
    and fill my cup to the brim.
I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
    and your house will be my home as long as I live.

Psalm 23 (GNT).

I couldn’t have said it better myself. A perfect psalm for today. Thank you, Jesus.

Summer Sundays – Glad to Just Be

At the beginning of the year, I came across a blog post asking what readers thought God was saying to them, in as few words as possible. ‘Just be‘ is what came to mind when I prayed. I have tried to let go of worry and stress and anxiety and live up to these words ever since. Paradoxically, rather than leading to carefree abandon, ‘just be’ has actually involved becoming more and more disciplined.

 

Discipline

Origin: From Middle English… via Old French from Latin disciplina ‘instruction, knowledge’, from discipulus (see disciple).’

 

Disciple, noun

‘A personal follower of Christ during his life, especially one of the twelve Apostles.

A follower or pupil of a teacher, leader, or philosopher.

Origin: Old English, from Latin discipulus ‘learner’, from discere ‘learn’…

Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com

 

Discipline. Hmm. It’s not what you think.

 

This Christ discipline, I am learning, is a quiet discipline. It is not made of ‘should’ or ‘ought’, or layer upon layer of soul-crushing guilt. Surrender is emotional and physical as well as spiritual (this came as a surprise to me!). It is not until we surrender our life, soul and body that we realise how far we are from surrender. Another paradox.

 

Last night the girls and I took it in turns to read from ‘Heaven for Kids’ and then from ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’. Those of us not reading were absorbed in crafting. I was finishing off a crocheted dance bag for Chip (she has recently taken up ballet) and the girls were making birthday cards for a relative. In the loving quiet, which so resembled the place that surrender has created, we all had a space. We shared. It was peaceful, restful – and I was so, so thankful.