Sheltered – April 29, 2013

“I just want to be held,” I say quietly to myself.  Not in a metaphoric, God-sort of way.  But by real arms.  I feel disappointed that this isn’t an option for me at this moment.

Today has been a hard day for me, but not in an easily identifiable way.  There was no specific experience that I could point to as making me sad or down.  Yet, as I was at work, I felt that something was not ok with me internally.  I was depressed, distracted and just wanted to numb out and waste time online. Finally, I heard God whisper, “take a walk.”  With my arms crossed I groaned, “but I don’t want to get up.”  Again, he whispered, “take a walk.”  I eventually got up and went for a walk.
This is where I walked….

Sheltered image

 

Yes, I sometimes work at a gorgeous retreat center.  As a side note, you’d think that I would go for walks like this all the time when I’m here, but it actually takes the prodding of God to remind me.

I walk for a bit and then settle on a bench.  It is there that I am able to pour out my heart.  For a while now, I have felt significant sadness over my singleness (but not over my alliteration skills, huzzah).  For months, I just sat on it and despaired.  A couple of months ago I was able to talk to God about it.  In the midst of that, I met someone.  We really clicked and I was swept up into the whirlwind of meeting someone with whom you really connect (which is a rare occasion for me).  Well, long story short, it ended, and not in a particularly kind way.  The experience has been hard for me and made me even more aware of the tenderness of these places in my heart.
One day as I was driving I recognized in myself a desire to skip the process in my own relational issues.  Instead of working it out slowly (as God often does), I saw in me a hope that “the one” would step in and make it all better.  Or at least, until we had to work it out after we were married.  I was surprised to realize how much I saw dating, even marriage, as a quick fix.  God said no.  He kindly told me that I don’t get to skip the process.  At the moment, I felt somewhat resolved as to that.  However, I found that today the process terrified me, because I don’t control the end result.
Later today, I went to a local coffee shop.  It’s a particularly special one.  It is located in a beautiful, old town area (in an old house) and has a great seating area outside.  As I sat down and took my first sip of coffee, my heart felt cared for by the warmth of the coffee, the complexity of flavors, and the beauty of the place.  The pain over relationships didn’t disappear, but in the midst of that, I felt peace.  I looked up and saw a big tree in front of me.  Not a puny tree, but a big, sprawling tree, with sturdy, long branches.  As I saw this tree, the word that came to mind was “sheltered.”  I then looked above me and saw that I was also literally sheltered by an umbrella.  I felt covered and cared for.  As I type this, I realize that this sheltering, the coffee, the beauty…all of it.  It makes me feel held.

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