Our lives are full of rhythm. Whether it’s our routine, or the constant noise that floats past our ears, rhythms are all around us. Right now, I’m listening to the rhythm of the rain. It’s pitter-patter on the tin roof. The dripping onto the chipped cement below. And how the sea breeze blows the steady falling rain in different directions. There is rhythm in the rain. Music is made. The drops tap out a beat and I follow along.
My life-rhythm has been a little off-beat lately. Days haven’t gone according to plan. To-do lists stay full, with nothing getting checked off, while more things are added. I’m doing the delicate, yet often times tough, dance of trying to tie up loose ends and get everything done before I leave Liberia in just a few days. I have to make priorities, and choose to totally disregard things that just aren’t as important.
The last few weeks have been hard. Liberia-hard, yes. But hard in a different way, too. Hard because of unexpected, uninvited roughness. Hard because it’s not easy living life with people—it’s messy. And hard because I’m trying to help, but all that I feel in return is entitlement and ungratefulness. And I have to ask for more grace and patience. And trust that my actions and words will rise above the crud and be remembered. And if not, then I have to accept that too.
Some days, I long for holy rhythm. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve experienced it, then you know what I’m talking about. That constant communion and fellowship with the Father. You feel Him and hear Him. He is present and tangible. I know that He is always present, but when the rhythm is interrupted, He can be hard to find. I crave that assurance that only comes from Him—when you know that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be and you’re doing exactly what He’s called you to do. And because of that assurance, you cling tightly to His promises and press on. Holy rhythm is a spiritual thing—your words and actions and reactions and thoughts are the extension of the Holy Spirit. Like sweet smelling incense gently rolling away from your hands, feet and mouth. Your eyes are full of light and your words are like fire—there is power in your belly, if you choose to use it.
I’m laying under my fleece blanket inside my mosquito net box. The rain is starting to lull, and I welcome the dark, quiet morning. I think about my rhythms. My rhythm of sliding my feet into flip-flops, rolling up my mosquito net, folding my blanket and drawing the curtain back to welcome the day. The rhythm of opening my top drawer to pull out my Bible, prayer journal, gratitude journal and pens. The rhythm of a day that seems to be full of rain, darkness and cold breezes. The dreaded rhythm of making note of things I’m leaving behind, pulling out the suitcases and dusting the rainy season mold off of things and starting to throw things inside.
And then there will be the frenzy of leaving. Friends stopping by, last minute errands, people wanting you to carry things for them, passing things off to someone else and making sure everything is taken care of before I go. Then there is the long, cold rhythm of flying nearly 8,000 miles. And the tiredness that goes along with that. And then I wake up in a strange land, much different than the world I left behind just a few hours ago. With this rhythm I know exactly how it all goes, and I anticipate the people and things that will greet me on the other side. But there will be a period of adjustment, a stage of culture shock and lots of needed sleep.
Do you ever sometimes think that a known, chaotic rhythm is better than the rhythm that is to come? Maybe because it’s comfortable or predictable or familiar or convenient? I will say that I am looking forward to the rhythm that is to come, but I also know that there will be highs and lows, peaks and valleys. But there is also the unknown. After my period of adjustment, I’m not really sure what sort of rhythm I will have. But I want it to be a good, healthy, enjoyable and fruitful rhythm. I know there are things that I want to be a a part of my new rhythm—family, healthy food, creativity, quiet time, dreaming, fellowship. And I also want to be sensitive to the Spirit’s rhythm. When I think about it too much, it feels like a tall order, or maybe like there are not enough hours in the day to live full and well. But then I’m reminded that I just need to show up and be present. And enjoy and savor. And extend grace and show love. And stay grounded in the Word and anchored in prayer.
And to trust. No matter what.
Trust in the beautiful, chaotic rhythm of the Creator. His rhythm is where Life is found, where wounds are healed and where joy is never-ending.
I am choosing to rest in this mysterious rhythm today, and I hope you will too.