High in the mountains, above Grand Lake, Colorado, is a lake. A small, still one, appropriately titled “Lost Lake.” You need to hike to get to it. Once there, the surrounding trees and rocks create a natural barrier to intrusions from the outside world.
I recently visited this lake with my family and our friend, Stephen. Rafael scrambled along the rocks. Our dog, Blaze, panted next to us. The warm summer air blew through her thick, black fur and tickled my arms.
Only a few people had made their way to this hidden oasis. Conversations were muted. Cellphones were stilled. No other sound was heard.The beauty captured our senses and our attention. We sat on a large rock and stared long at the unbroken surface of the lake.
Meanwhile, for me….
My brain was in overdrive.
My body ached to move.
My thoughts raced in my head about what was next on our camping trip, what I was working on for my next story, how many items I still had left on my work “To-Do” list, how many calories were in the sandwich I’d just consumed….and on…and on…and on….
I am confounded by my own propensity to charge forward in life. There is a positive part to an inner drive to succeed and to make things and to try new adventures. I relish doing the “next thing” and embrace with enthusiasm the events that fill up my schedule.
But, the other side of that, is the inability to sit still. To be silent. To absorb beauty in serenity. To observe. To listen. If I am only moving, and giving, and serving, and pouring myself out, then I will soon be used up.
I am struck by how the Lord Jesus continually stopped at moments in His ministry. The One who “went about doing good” also “withdrew to a solitary place” quite often. He found the crowds, preached to them, healed their sick, and fed them food. Afterwards, He found a quiet place, either alone or with his closest friends, to rest, to pray, to re-charge.
I’m about to turn 34 years old. I am looking forward to this next year of life, full of opportunities and events and family and friends and changes. Looking back, my heart is grateful for all the good and perfect gifts that have been given to me by the Father of Lights.
Also, I am struck by my need to slow down. I am working long hours at my job. The demands are high. The needs are greater than my capacity.
I am worn. Defeated.
I am tired. Discouraged.
I can’t hear the still, small voice. The noise around me is too loud, too oppressive, too curt.
I wish I could flip a switch to change my mileage. I’m a crazy motorist, realizing I’m going to fast, and then, boom, hitting the brakes. Nicely done, perfectly stopped.
However, I am honest enough with myself to know that slowing down, for good, will take time and practice.
I will practice taking a true Sabbath each week – a rest from the noise and chaos.
I will practice, when I’m at home in the evenings, truly being at home.
With my husband and son.
I will practice joy, even among the hardest of days.
I will practice prayer and thanksgiving.
I will take some deep breaths, realize I don’t have all the answers.
Then maybe, just maybe, if I can slow my speed down….
The road will be more enjoyable.
Who knows, there might be another beautiful, lost lake, just around the bend.