Middling

The fancies and reflections of a loquacious ninja

Monthly Archives: February 2013

A restless Sabbath

I realized last night that I needed a day of rest.

From what I understand from Scripture (and there are people I highly respect who would disagree with me), I don’t believe that I’m morally obligated to keep a Sabbath. But I think God knew what He was doing when He set down the pattern of six days of work, one day of rest. Plus, given the holiday tomorrow, I knew I would (hopefully) be given enough time to pay my assignments their due.

And so, I decided today would be a day of no schoolwork.

The day flew by, even more rapidly than I’d expected. At first, it didn’t feel that different; perhaps it just took a bit for me to log out of the schoolwork mentality. But about halfway through the day, I was struck by a seemingly out-of-the-blue thought/conviction that caught me slightly off-guard:

I don’t want to just rest from academics; I want to rest in God. But what does that mean? What does it mean to find true repose in Him, and in Him alone? I sensed a longing, a restlessness in my spirit that I didn’t quite have an answer for…

A few minutes later, I attended a dance lesson today that left me totally and curiously drained (I’ve danced longer and more intensely many times before; I guess in those cases my adrenaline was enough to keep me from realizing how tired I was until much later). An hour and a half of involuntary, physical repose afterward had never been so sweet…

Perhaps too often, I go through my day running on a kind of spiritual adrenaline, unaware of my dependence and need for my Creator. And as I learn to remember the restlessness inside of me, I will find the sweet repose that only He can supply.

Lord… teach me to be restless for You.

“…our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.”

~ Augustine

A word from Pascal

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“Let us act as if we had only eight hours to live.”

“True fear comes from faith; false fear comes from doubt. True fear is joined to hope… because men hope in the God in whom they believe. False fear is joined to despair, because men fear the God in whom they have no belief. The former fear to lose Him; the latter fear to find Him.”

“The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know… Is it by reason that you love yourself?”

“Two kinds of persons know Him: those who have a humble heart… whatever kind of intellect they may have, high or low; and those who have sufficient understanding to see the truth, whatever opposition they may have to it.”

“There is enough light for those who only desire to see, and enough obscurity for those who have a contrary disposition.”

“The Christian religion, then, teaches men these two truths; that there is a God whom men can know, and that there is a corruption in their nature which renders them unworthy of Him. It is equally important to men to know both these points… The knowledge of only one of these points gives rise either to the pride of philosophers, who have known God, and not their own wretchedness, or to the despair of atheists, who know their own wretchedness, but not the Redeemer.”

“In every dialogue and discourse, we must be able to say to those who take offence, ‘Of what do you complain?’”

“It is a horrible thing to feel all that we possess slipping away.”

“Between us and heaven or hell there is only life, which is the frailest thing in the world.”

“Those who do not love the truth take as a pretext that it is disputed, and that a multitude deny it.”

“I love the worshippers unknown to the world and to the very prophets.”

“We run carelessly to the precipice, after we have put something before us to prevent us seeing it.”

“Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed… A vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this. All our dignity consists, then, in thought… Let us endeavour, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.”

A wind-filled walk

After investing so much time and pouring so much energy into my first paper of the semester, turning it in and walking away  last Thursday was confusing; like stepping out of a world you’ve confined yourself in for too long, or removing a heavy visor that you’d almost forgotten you were wearing.

So I went for a walk. I can’t remember the last time I took a walk for the sake of taking a walk.

It was powerfully windy that day. I had thought I would be praying or singing, or at least humming as I went along, but I didn’t. I just tried to take in what was around me. The wind filled the silence.

The ground was much muddier than I’d expected. The surface of the lake wavered and shifted like a thing possessed. The gusts tossing and shaping the waters blasted my face and pocketed hands with cold. Inspired by a photograph a friend had taken, I diverged from my route to explore a new area. The ground grew muddier, the sights more breathtaking. The wind remained strong.

The Spirit is closely associated with breath or wind. Our breathing in and out daily is a reminder of the life that was breathed into our first ancestor, Adam. And now, as the wind churned and blew with strength, it made even what is not alive seem living. The near-barren trees shivered, the nearby barn groaned like a forgotten giant of old, and the waters took on a thousand quickened forms.

All this with no words.