We’re almost at the end of our one week retreat, and the photo below of a garbage can I had passed on a walk, I think speaks much of how important the process of reflection and relationships are.
The last few weeks were a blur with the intensive TESOL training course I had been a part of (as a student), and I had been counting the minutes till the time my family and I would get on the train and leave Delhi for the much needed break up in the mountains.
Well, as it so happened, I went into a sort of ‘shut-down’ which it took several days, prayer and fellowship to emerge from. I had little idea what toll on my reserves the stress of the last two months had taken, and I was beset by a silence that I was finding hard to break out of. I’m very glad that we had taken the decision to retreat and rest.
Over the week, I finished two books, both very different from each other – one was J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion, which I had been unable to get through the first pages of, the first time I had picked it up, and the other was Elisabeth Elliot’s Loneliness. I think the books formed part of the process of recovery, and helped in different ways to bring my sight back on what was a far bigger picture than my wearing out was showing. More about Elisabeth Elliot’s book(s?) in posts to come. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that I picked up the book to read at the time I did.
As I’ve been reflecting over the TESOL course and the many wonderful things that happened during it, my dad’s illness again, and the need to chart out the course of the next half year with a new team of teachers, new challenges as my wife and daughter’s school shifts to an entirely new location, and the need to follow through to completion some of the important things we had been involved in as a family, God in all His grace and faithfulness, and deep understanding of our condition and frailties, once again began to ease the burden of life, smooth the wrinkles and knots of worry and lift our eyes towards Him.
With the result that ‘sight’ has started to come back again; or should I say ‘light’ has started to shine through?
As light shines and sight returns, there is so much to see, and vistas open up even in the midst of our difficulties and challenges; a table of honour, a feast spread even in the presence of enemies; a treasure trove of goodness. There is so much now to write. So many stories to share. So many sights and sounds that have carried lessons and parables hidden in them. I hope to share many of these in the coming weeks, so if you’re reading, stay in there. I trust these will bless you as much as they have blessed me.
Most of these stories have been unexpected discoveries in the midst of situations and experiences, just like the little plant growing almost unnoticed in the knot of the old tree trunk. If you have been feeling as beset or worn out as I have, or shut out from your hopes and desires, I hope you will be encouraged by my saying that God remembers; nothing has gone unnoticed, and even in the hardened knots of our experiences, He has kept a place for fruitfulness and joy, and nothing is ever wasted or scorned by His loving Hands, because they were first broken for us.