a picnic

Heather and I went to the park yesterday afternoon, and ate our lunch under a huge tree of yellow leaves lit in the afternoon sun. Its branches covered us and reached down to almost touch the water of the stream before us. Heather had made tabouleh, a Lebanese salad that she used to eat in France; she'd found the makings for it among the donated food. Very good. Then we lay and read in the sun.

The night before I had felt overwhelmed, because I came back tired then found out one of the women were coming in late from work so I would need to get up and open the door for her. And then there were some men who had been drinking and started yelling on the porch around midnight. So I went out and got one of them to leave. No big problems, really, but nights like that always leave me feeling shaky.

And later I thought that there is a fine line between getting burned out and not getting burned out. The experience of being pushed to the edge is the same, I think. The difference is just the small movement of faith, being able to fall over the edge and be caught and carried. The alternative, trying to keep everything under control and manageable, doesn't work. Not if we're going to follow Jesus where he's going. He didn't stay where things were manageable.

My instinct, when I feel overwhelmed, is to either run away or take control. But those are not the responses of faith. I need to just go ahead with the loving task I see right before me and not worry about the chaos that swirls around.

And trust that God will have a picnic beside a stream for me when I need it.