Each Wednesday I’m recording a Curiosity Journal to recap the past week. Tag words are: reading, playing, learning, reacting and writing.
Some of you have mentioned that you’re keeping a Curiosity Journal, as well. Leave your link in the comments so that we can visit and enjoy your weekly review.
Currently in the One-Year Bible, I’m in Isaiah, and a lot of its message is difficult, even harsh.
But there is hope. The reading includes Isaiah 30:15, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
I sip coffee. In returning and rest…in quietness and trust.
Filtered morning sunlight manages to push through the clouds and brighten my mug, my Bible. The quiet will end soon. Kids will slam drawers and doors, stick bread in the toaster, flip on the radio, pour cereal, and open and shut the fridge twenty-five to thirty times.
I want to linger here, before the noise builds; I want to live a life of quiet trust, even as problems present themselves. I think of this as I set my mug on the counter and carry the Bible to my desk. I’m relocating my stuff, because the kids have arrived. Plates of buttered raisin bread and bowls of frosted shredded mini-wheat thunk against the table. Milk sloshes over the rim of a bowl. Spoons ping and clink against ceramic. The kids and I discuss the day’s schedule. We pray.
This moment of quiet and attitude of trust is temporary, because soon a disagreement will break out about whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher. But it is good while it lasts. And I think about it later, when I begin to feel agitated by scheduling challenges and an awkward conversation with a family member.
Return and rest, I remind myself. Return and rest.
My son misplaced Bananagrams for a long time, but found it recently while searching for a green T-shirt that he’d also misplaced. The shirt was discovered inside-out and crumpled next to a chair in the corner of his bedroom. Apparently the bag of Bananagram tiles was nearby.
We’ve been playing. I actually stopped momentarily mid-game to snap this. Those of you familiar with Bananagrams knows how risky it is to interrupt one’s focus.
After a few more “peels,” a moment when players draw another tile, I successfully rearranged and repositioned letters to form new words, but a late acquisition tripped me up: “J.” Given a little more time, I could have juggled things and made it fit, but one of my daughters was too fast. She used up all of her tiles.
No more to draw from. Game over.
One of my daughters is in a government class. She’s about to study how a bill becomes a law, which will be fully explained in her textbook; but I’m thinking, What better explanation than this?
This more serious resource is helpful for quizzing how well a student (or adult) understands the Constitution.
Two weekends ago, our cross country team ran in a well-organized invitational held at a community park. The course wove through some woods and down a little rolling hill and around a soccer field. One section was kind of confusing because the runners had to circle around a section twice, but the organizers sent parents from each team to direct athletes. In addition, a man on a bicycle rode in front of the lead runner to show the way.
No one got lost.
Last weekend, the team participated in another invitational. Start time was delayed so that by the time everyone gathered, the host wasn’t willing to take teams on a course tour. He started pointing. “Oh, it’s so simple,” he said. “You just go around that tree over there, loop around there two times, then the third time you go around there and run down that way around the playground and come back up this way and go down that way…” and so on. He concluded, “It’s easy. So easy. We don’t need to do a tour. It’s clearly marked—just follow the arrows.”
No cyclist led the way. No parents directed the runners to loop around the playground two times or pointed them through the woods. The starter shot the gun, and the runners were off, on their own, following the arrows best they could.
They got off course.
They lost their way.
It was heartbreaking to witness their long strides and the determination on their faces, only to realize that something was “off”; their times couldn’t possibly be as fast as those I was clocking.
It turned out that in spite of their hard work, their strong performance, their grit and excitement, most were disqualified. If you don’t run the course, your time doesn’t count.
How do I know, in life, if I’m on the right course? How do we avoid racing off in the wrong direction?
I think of Isaiah again, same passage as earlier:
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (30:21)
Better than a bicycle leading the way—a voice from behind saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”
All photos copyright 2011 by Ann Kroeker.
Sounds like your son is every bit as organized as mine. Gotta love ’em! I studied Isaiah last year with Bible Study Fellowship, and found much of it difficult. But you’re right–it’s rich with hope.
Schoolhouse Rock rocks.
Well, I can’t criticize. You should see the corner of the room in which I write–boxes and piles of books that don’t have a home.
As for Isaiah, I happen to be reading in it, as I pointed out, and then the church announced that we’re going to do a sermon series on Isaiah! Handy!
And Schoolhouse Rocks? I remember as much from those as I do from Miss Flint’s English class.
JoDee Luna says
A friend recently sent me the same scripture from Isaiah. I appreciate the practical application to your own life. This brings the scripture to life for me. What a contrast those words “quietness and rest” are when compared with our modern lives. How wonderful that you can practice those qualities in the midst of a bustling household.
Today I was with my parents, and my dad can be challenging to spend time with. I found that phrase coming back to me: return and rest.
Stephanie S. Smith says
I love that verse from Isaiah. I just came home from a jam-packed week in Chicago which was so busy and sleep-deprived, albeit wonderful, that I’m now home sick. But I knew I needed that relax and rest time to process the week’s events, to soak in the wisdom of what I’ve learned, and to not let it go to waste by getting caught up in life’s ever-spinning wheels.
We would do well to reestablish the Sabbath in our lives.
Ah, you have returned…and now you can rest?
I totally agree about the Sabbath. It’s one reason I realized I wanted to write a book about slowing down–the lack of practical rest as well as deep, spiritual rest and the effect on families.
Stephanie S. Smith says
Sheila Lagrand says
Ann, those two verses from Isaiah resonate so deeply with me right now, as we tread an unpleasant stretch of the path at home.
What translation are you reading? And what kind of organization? My one-year plan had me finishing Joel last night.
And I’m, well–curious.
Sheila, I’m glad God can use that in your life.
For the past few years I’ve read through the Bible. A couple of years I stuck with the familiar 1984 NIV version, using the One-Year Bible (where they organize it by date and I simply flip open to the day and read a portion of OT, a portion of NT, a psalm (or part of a psalm) and a Proverb. It’s organized for me.
Then I got a copy of a One-Year Bible that used ESV translation, so that’s this year’s version. I may have even had an NLT year. Mixing it up keeps it fresh.
I love having it portioned out for me. I’ve used checklists in the past and used my regular study Bible, but I found myself slipping on the reading. Somehow just opening to the date and reading what’s there and stopping when the next date appears helps my weary mind. 🙂
Megan Willome says
I still know the Preamble to the Constitution only because I can sing the “Schoolhouse Rock” ditty.
Oh, the poor cross-country kids. I feel their pain!
Like your Laity mug.
Oh, of course! I just started singing it. “We the people…in order to form a more perfect union…”
Thank you for commiserating with the team (and moms…and coaches…we were all so bummed).
And thank you for noticing the mug. It was a gift, so it’s doubly special. 🙂
Megan beat me to it. I was going to mention the mug. 🙂
And then, of course, I was happy to see your Bananagrams game. In our last phone conversation, we had spoken about playing word games with our husbands. 🙂
Trish Southard says
Our daughter ran cross country and I remember seeing runners off course. Powerful illustration Ann. Thank you for helping me see the importance of allowing God’s power to transform me, direct my path, and not setting my own course.
Thank you for seeing the deeper meaning, always, Trish.