Hammocked – October 29, 2013

I’m emerging from a busy season at work.  Probably the busiest season I’ve ever experienced there.  And there was a moment when I realized that it was all too much.  I kept saying “I’m working myself to death,” which is absolutely an overstatement.  Yet, I also knew that I had hit the bottom of my well.

As I finished this busy season I was able to step immediately into vacation.  I had a couple of days at home before leaving for Austin, Texas.  I enjoyed exploring a new city and discovering what made it tick.  My time and my main purpose in Texas though was to visit a retreat center out in a little town called Leakey.  It took me about 3 hours to drive there from Austin.  However, my rental car had satellite radio and I quickly found the Broadway station.  So yeah, I was singing my little heart out the entire way.

As I entered the property I left paved roads for dusty, rocky paths.  I kept driving down further and further, eventually hitting the shallowest river I’ve ever seen.  “Yes, you drive across the river” the sign exclaimed to my right.  So, for a mile I slowly drove in the middle of a river.  This drive felt like part of the transition into retreat.  It was an official leaving the normal world for a new place.  No cell reception, radio turned off.  Just me, the car, and God.

I arrived to the retreat center, to a place that I still struggle to give words to.  Words that adequately describe this piece of beauty.  For me, being at Laity Lodge was catching the tiniest glimpse of heaven.  In my journal I wrote that it was “Rivendell in reality.”


I had arrived early, so I just walked around the property.  Fairly early on, I discovered a hammock.  When I was 10 my dad bought a hammock and I remember lying out in the back yard many an evening.  I specifically remember learning my lines for a play I was in.  I can’t completely explain why, but the hammock feels so safe for me and brings up such comforting memories.  Lying in one was like being a child again.  I floated on the air, gently rocking back and forth, cupped by the ropey cradle that held me.

I suppose the image of being cradled in a hammock perfectly captures this vacation for me.  God held me as I rested, pondered, and discerned.  I do come back feeling refreshed, but also reminded that I cannot say yes to everything.  I cannot do all that is in my heart all at once.  Saying no is hard, but I know that I am not called to work myself to death.  Yet, I am called to work.  As I sit in this tension, I feel a little more secure that God cradles me in the tension.  That this puzzle is not puzzling to him.

I couldn’t find words to describe Laity Lodge, so instead wrote on my experience of seeing this place:


Amen to this place.

Amen to this place of Idyllic beauty.

I disrupt it with my clumsy stomps.

More fitting would be the composed sailing of an elf.

They would walk as if gently floating on water.

Me?  I stomp liltingly.

Most inelegantly.

But perhaps such gloriousness is not meant to be left untouched.

What is beauty, but to be beheld.



Towards he who made…

Ripples of heaven.


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