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Slowing Down (Pilgrimage Reflection #3)

Posted on July 20th, 2013

Geri and I arrived in NZ with a full cup and began a 3-city tour, in different parts of the country, each separated by a plane flight. This was akin to getting on the bus “SPEED” – with fifteen-hour days (teaching an EH Leadership seminar from 9:00-4:30 and a 7:00-9:15 EH Marriage Seminar in each city.) We thought the travel days would be recovery days but they turned out to be a different kind of “work” – traveling by car and plane, encountering storms, 2 days of lost luggage, as well as the unpredictable factors that come with being in a new culture. By the end of the week, we were sadly exhausted. Too many people, too much work, and too little silence and downtime. Partnering with WillowCreek New Zealand was a joy. The issue revolved, primarily, around our decisions. We asked ourselves: “What does an “emotionally healthy,” global partnership, speaking tour look like? How does the gift of limits apply to us as we step into this new arena? We do know that centering prayer, silence, solitude, ample time in Scripture, and relaxed rhythms are the only way we, at least, can give authentically out of our lives. The following two insights from Bernard of Clairvaux have served me these last two days: If you are wise, therefore, you will show yourself a reservoir, and not a canal. For a canal pours out as fast as it takes in; but a reservoir waits till it is full before it overflows, and so communicates its surplus…(canals) desire to pour out when they themselves are not yet inpoured; they are readier to speak than to listen, eager to teach that which they do not know… Let the reservoir …take the pattern from the spring; for the spring does not form a stream or spread itself into a lake until it is brimful… Be filled thyself, then…pour out they fullness. Action and contemplation are very close companions; they live together in one house on equal terms; Martha is Mary’s sister…If you separate the two, then you do wrong… When I am at rest, I accuse myself of neglecting my work; when I am at work, of having disturbed my repose. The only remedy in these uncertainties is prayer; entreating to be shown God’s holy will at every moment, that He may tell us what to do and when and how to do it. (Selections from the Writings of Bernard of Clairvaux, arranged and edited by Douglas V. Steere, p.24, 26) We have much to learn.  We intend to slow down now, that God may make us a reservoir as we head to speak in Singapore for the second leg of our three country tour.

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