Today I read the poem “Sabbath in Late Fall” by Ruth Haley Barton. Over the past six months, I’ve been praying much about, and reflecting on, our future. Seeking God for direction, clarification and discernment. It’s been good, but not always easy, especially when the possibility of change enters the picture. Ruth Barton does a great job of capturing that which I feel. I hope you enjoy it.
Sabbath in Late Fall
For everything there is a season…
Sometimes on the Sabbath
all you can do is
settle into the soft body of yourself
and listen to what it says.
the exhaustion that is deeper than tiredness
the hunger that is for more than food
the thirst that is for more than drink
the longing for comfort that is more than physical.
On the Sabbath
body and soul reach out for time of a different sort
time this is full of space rather than activity:
time to watch the burning bush in your own backyard…
the movement of the wind among bare branches…
the last leaf clinging to the branch before its final letting go.
Letting go is hard,
letting go of that which no longer works
that which no longer brings joy and meaning
that which is no longer full of life.
It seems cruel
That something that used to be so beautiful
should fall to the ground
sinking into the earthly mud along with everything else that is dying,
no longer recognizable for what it used to be.
It seems cruel but it is the way of things.
One generation gives its life for the next
One season slips away so another can come.
One crop of fruit falls from trees so that more can be borne.
One wave recedes while another gathers strength to crash upon the shore.
It seems cruel
but it is the rhythm of things.
And rhythm has its own beauty.
Are we expecting massive change in our lives? Not that I can tell. But as “one season slips away so another can come” we anticipate God taking us forward in ministry. That’s a good thing. But, at the same time, letting go is hard. So I seek Sabbath rest in Jesus, that my heart may be refreshed.