So I'm beginning to think that it's my soul that's restless these days. I keep looking for moments of rest. But I’m not finding much. My life feels a little stale.
Maybe it’s because spring is morphing into summer and that makes me dream of faraway vacation places.
Maybe it’s because I’m yearning for something new and different. More than a change of furniture or paint color. Maybe a new hobby or a new class or a new friend. Maybe even a new life kind of change.
I notice an ad pop up on my computer screen for a job that requires immediate relocation to Saudi Arabia. I let my mind wander halfway around the world and it feels exhilarating. So I announce to my cubicle colleagues that I am relocating to Saudi Arabia.
No one takes me seriously except for my colleague Ben. He sounds excited for me. “Wow, Valerie! You’re going to Saudi Arabia?”
My friend Bree almost rolls off her chair, she's laughing so hard at the idea of me living in Saudi Arabia. She says I certainly couldn’t wear high heels there. She says I wouldn’t need most of my jewelry and probably not much makeup either.
She says she can’t imagine me living in a place less suited to my style than maybe . . . Mississippi.
Mississippi? I ask her what's wrong with Mississippi. She says it’s so hot and humid there.
I’m not sure if she’s forgotten that we live in Florida, but I tell her I’ve visited antebellum homes in Mississippi and I think it is a lovely and charming place. I tell her I can certainly picture myself living in Mississippi.
Saudi Arabia, maybe not. But certainly Mississippi.
Saudi Arabia. Mississippi. Maybe I don’t need to make such a drastic life-change. Maybe I could just try to find a few moments of soul-rest for my unsettled soul. These moments are harder to find when I'm restless and distracted and feelings of discontent hover nearby.
But what if God is right here in the middle of these restless moments? What if he's trying to whisper to my restless soul? Will I trust him with my restlessness to see where he leads me, even if I have no idea where that might be? Could I even rest in the restlessness?
Maybe this is the place that I unload what weighs my heart down. Maybe this is the place that I look no further than the moments of soul-rest that this day holds.
I don’t know anyone who lives in the moment, appreciating every day to its fullest, more than my mother does. I’ve watched her create artful moments of soul-rest my whole life by enjoying exactly what she’s doing at the moment.
She wouldn’t call herself an artist, but I think she is.
It’s an art to enjoy what’s in front of you.
It’s an art to take one day at a time.
It's an art to savor every moment, every experience, everything that happens, even the not-so-happy times.
It's an art to always see the glass half-full of the lemonade she's made out of life's lemons.
When I was in grade school, she sketched a drawing out of a book I was reading on Robert E. Lee’s daughters. I have it hanging in my house to remind me of her artful way of looking at life.
Growing up, her plan-only-for-the-next-hour style of life drove me crazy because I wanted to know what we'd do next or what was up ahead. She would always tell me to just enjoy what I'm doing right now.
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m trying not to think about tomorrow’s meetings or next week’s appointments. I’m appreciating today’s moments of soul-rest. They’re small. Easy to miss sometimes. Unexpected. But always right in front of me if I'm looking for them.
I’m savoring my cup of blueberry vanilla coffee out on my courtyard as dark turns to early morning and the birds begin to sing.
I’m relishing living a few streets away from my sister, just as we always dreamed of when we were little girls, because life changes and someday we might not.
I'm adoring my nephew as my brother-in-law's truck drives by my house and my nephew leans out in his baseball uniform and yells "Hi Auntie!" as they spot me on the sidewalk.
I’m treasuring nights at the grocery store with my seven-year-old niece as she eats chocolate chip cookies from the bakery and hangs off the back of the cart, because it will be all too soon that she’ll want to shop for clothes at the mall with her girlfriends instead of shopping for groceries with her auntie.
I’m basking in the circle of friends in my life right now because as the circle whirls around, it will be broken -- releasing friends to new ventures and adding new ones to take their place -- but never staying the same.
So my soul is resting here for awhile. While I appreciate the life-moments that are right here in front of me. Until one day when it will be time to move on from this restless place.
Who knows, maybe someday I’ll surprise my colleagues. And off to Saudi Arabia I’ll go.
Or at the very least, maybe to Mississippi.
|On the steps of Dunleith in Natchez, Mississippi|