It’s been uncomfortable waiting. Waiting to be established in a new career. Waiting to have my own place again. Waiting to see Mossy settled and cared for. Waiting to feel like I know what I’m doing again. A dear friend and wise woman challenged me, “Naomi, don’t rush this time of waiting. There’s something for you in this.” It was a nudge to enter in to the uncertainty. I don’t like to sit around and “do nothing.” That’s why I like to hike… I’m MOVING! I’m doing something and going somewhere.
But I knew she was right. I knew I needed to embrace this time as an opportunity to be still and reflect. Why am I so restless? Why am I so undone when I don’t feel successful on the outside? What am I pushing to the side?
I decided this was the time to pull out the book I bought a year ago at a women’s retreat. Bonnie Gray’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace is unlike any book I’ve ever encountered. It’s not your typical self-help book. In a way, Bonnie is a tour guide, leading her reader to journey into the soul, and find rest.
When I met Bonnie that cold day in February, I shared a little about my journey of parenting a child with special needs – a child I did not birth, but who came to me at 10 years old. Tears welled up in my eyes and she could hear the broken anxiety in my shaking voice.
With a bright smile and eyes of understanding, she took me back to the dusty road between Jerusalem and Jericho. There, on the side of the road, lay a naked man covered in bruises and blood. He was barely conscious. Two men passed by and crossed on the other side of the road – probably too busy to be bothered, or uncertain of how deeply they’d need to get involved if they stopped to help. But then, an outcast came by and saw this man left for dead. Compassion compelled him to stop, get down off his animal and stoop to take a closer look. He took oil, wine, and bandages out of his saddle and covered the man’s open wounds. He gently placed the weak man on the animal and walked beside it the rest of the way into town. Stopping at an inn, this generous and kind man paid the innkeeper to nurse the half-dead man back to health. There was no limit set to the time it would take or the amount of money that would be needed – just a promise to cover it all when he returned. (The Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37.)
Bonnie looked at me and said, “You’re the man laying on the side of the road. You’re also the two men passing by, too busy doing God’s work to stop and help. Jesus is the Good Samaritan. He is the one who says ‘No matter how much time it takes, no matter how much it costs, let her stay here and heal.'” I’ve read that story a hundred times. I’ve taught it to children. Why would I think God wanted me to be like that Samaritan to others, but not believe that He is the Samaritan for me?
That weekend was the beginning of a new mindset. I started to look for opportunities to fill myself up – hiking, painting, photography, and writing again. I took the first steps to believing that I was worth my time, and that God is the one who gave me those interests and joys in the first place! However, life was still crazy. Time was was no where to be found, so the book sat in the basket collecting dust.
When my friend helped me see that this time of waiting just might be an opportunity, I got out my journal, my book, and dove in. I gave myself permission to rest and to heal…