In so many ways, I am Jonah, grasping onto whatever boat I can find to take me away from the calling He has given me. My every medicine causes more illness. My every effort to self-medicate the wounds of my own rebellion drags me further away from shore. But God in all his mercy always sends a whale of reality or sorrow or humility or insomnia to swallow me up and spew me in the right direction.
Saturday night I slept for about 30 minutes. It was just one night of many sleepless nights I’ve had recently, for reasons of which I’m largely unaware. I’ve tried medicine, caffeine detox, counting sheep, background noise . . . and yet my mind won’t let my body get the rest it needs. But then I picked myself up, drank several cups of coffee (which is beginning to replace the blood in my veins by now) and drug myself to Shandon on Sunday for church. The first words that come out of Dr. Lincoln’s mouth were these:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Interesting how rest is found in the acceptance of spiritual work. He continued on by saying, “The work the Lord has set out for us is custom-made, tailored specifically to us as individuals and you will find rest in it.” We followed that with communion. I felt something shift within me. A reaffirmation of my calling as I reached out to take hold of it once more. Who knows if this insomnia will ever come to an end? Regardless, I feel more rested already.
My Exit, Unfair mewithoutYou
My exit unobserved,
And my homesickness absurd…
I said “water” expecting the Word would satisfy my thirst,
Talking all about the second and third
When I haven’t understood the first.
Jonah, where’s that boat going… your ship set with eager sails?
There’s a swirling storm soon blowing, and no use, fishermen,
In rowing from the consecrated whale!
And just like the clouds, they bring a darkness and a hard rain’s gonna fall,
I felt the crowd bring a loneliness and a hard rain, a hard rain’s gonna fall.
And she’d always weighed me down,
But, afraid I might need her, I dragged her around,
It’s best to keep close sackcloth and ash in a whitewashed town;
She wore that phony smile on her face,
I guess like a bandage on a wounded place,
While I kept the keys to every old lock just in case.
Rehearsed indifference tossed aside,
Our narrow arms spread wide,
“What unseen pen etched eternal things on the hearts of human kind…
But never let them in our minds?”
Oh, the clouds they brought a darkness and a hard rain’s gonna fall,
And all my laughter ends in emptiness and a hard rain’s gonna fall.
My every medicine causes more illness and a hard rain’s gonna fall,
And until I let you go I didn’t know, you were never mine…
You were never mine at all.
But now I spend my days in ever-increasingly complicated ways,
Convincing myself of the rightness of each word I say.
My exit, unfair if unobserved!
My exit, unfair if unobserved!
My exit, unfair…
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11