Monday, August 10, 2009

over the river and through the woods

i'm packing for my escape. through the sweet generosity of some dear friends, a husband just barely hanging onto the last bit of summer vacation, and a brother-in-law in town at just the right moment to play with luke when sam is working, i'll spend the next two and a half days away...away in the woods in a quiet mountain cabin, away from responsibilities and expectations, away from schedules and to-do lists...with wireless internet. perfect! what am i packing? books (the brothers karamazov and a grief observed so far), sneakers, scrapbooking supplies, hundreds of pictures of eliza, my journal, my bible, and my netbook (you can bet i'll be blogging). what am i not packing? cell phone (okay, i'll bring it...but i'm turning it off), calendar, makeup, earrings, recipes, grocery lists, children's ministry schedules, laundry detergent, editing expectations, no work, no pretense.

as i was just packing up my shampoo and conditioner--even in the woods, pretense-free, i've got to have clean hair, after all--i found a scrap of paper in my travel case. it's a photocopy of a page from a daily devotional--i don't even know which one--that a friend gave me months ago, and i have no idea how it ended up folded up next to my travel-sized toothpaste. but this will be my prayer for my days away:
O eternal God, though Thou art not such as I can see with my eyes or touch with my hands, yet grant me this day a clear conviction of Thy reality and power. Let me not go forth to my work believing only in the world of sense and time, but give me grace to understand that the world I cannot see or touch is the most real world of all. My life to-day will be lived in time, but eternal issues will be concerned in it. The needs of my body will be clamant, but it is for the needs of my soul that I must care most. My business will be with things material, but behind them let me be aware of things spiritual. Let me keep steadily in mind that the things that matter are not money or possessions, not houses or lands, not bodily comfort or bodily pleasure; but truth and honour and meekness and helpfulness and a pure love of Thyself.

For the power Thou hast given me to lay hold of things unseen:
For the strong sense I have that this is not my home:
For my restless heart which nothing finite can satisfy:
I give Thee thanks, O God.
For the invasion of my soul by Thy Holy Spirit:
For all human love and goodness that speak to me of Thee:
For the fullness of Thy glory outpoured in Jesus Christ:
I give Thee thanks, O God.

I, a pilgrim of eternity, stand before Thee, O eternal One. Let me not seek to deaden or destroy the desire for Thee that disturbs my heart. Let me rather yield myself to its constraint and go where it leads me. Make me wise to see all things to-day under the form of eternity, and make me brave to face all the changes in my life which
such a vision may entail: through the grace of Christ my Savior. Amen.

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