I didn’t recognize my own symptoms. After three weeks of summer travel and a jam-packed schedule I finally had a morning at home alone. After a three week hit-and-miss pattern of morning devotions, I plopped in my chair to meet with Jesus. As I began my morning liturgy, “O Lord, let my soul rise to meet you as the sun rises to meet the day,” I became suddenly aware of my rapid heartbeat and pounding pulse. I could almost hear its alarming rhythm. With heart disease I my family, an unceasing, accelerated heart rate is never good.
The last several weeks had clicked off at a staggering rate, for sure, and now my depleted body was letting me know this had to stop. I had to stop. Someone has said…“If you don’t give our body its Sabbaths, your body’s own system of checks and balances will take them back.” I sat quietly for a few minutes trying to regain a normal rhythmic pattern but there was no calming my runaway heart. For want of rest, my life was in danger.
The thoughts that gripped me the most in that moment was, How long has that been going on? How long has my body and soul been on overdrive and racing out of control? A week? Two weeks? Three weeks? What if I hadn’t created this space in my life this morning that allowed me to notice? What other symptom (heart attack, anxiety attack) would have exposed the desperateness of my condition?
What those quiet moments offered me was the opportunity to pay attention to the condition of my soul, my body, yes, but also my soul. My rapid heartbeat told me more was going on beneath the surface of my life. The quietness brought an awareness of a weariness that had unknowingly settled into my soul. Living at break-neck speed had made me desperately in need of something sacred; something that was more real than all of my doing. And in those few moments I found my way home.
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1