Every morning when my husband leaves with our school boys, I walk them out with hugs and kisses. I wave goodbye and turn straight for my work boots, my mucks. One of my greatest joys during this stage of my life, after those boys and my man, of course, is the moment I let my chickens out of their coop.
I’m usually still wearing my pajamas. The pond there reflects a different drifting sky every time. Sometimes it’s blue. Sometimes the dark in the water supersedes the sky. The catfish bubble at the sound of my chicken coo, and the mist swirls this time of year because the water is warm, and morning air is cool.
I let my chickens out, and yesterday coyotes pitched howls straight to me from the tree line. It gives me shivers, but it’s a gift to be out in the wild. I stand in nature now every single day without fail, and it always feels like a surprise. How did I go years without this before?
We own five acres, but there’s something about hearing how bears roam into backyards near here that reminds me how small I am, how this is not mine but my Father’s world. I am not in charge. This, I’m finding, is the recipe for rest – to know that I am not in charge.
You should see my to-do list. It takes more time, energy, and planning than I could ever muster for me to keep my home and heart going – even at a base level. I’ve read so many blogs and seen it in books. I’ve heard the message in sermons and on the radio. “You are enough!” they say, and I get it, but I beg to differ.
Photo by Karen Jackson
It may be the most freeing thing I know: I am not enough. If all control were put in my hands, there would not be enough of me to think through and carry out all the good things I hope for my children and especially for the world. I can hardly keep myself undivided from within. Half the time my mind won’t obey my soul. My mind tells me to quit the sugar while my hand stuffs a Little Debbie into my face. What self-control I have comes not from me – but from God.
And so I am learning to rest in the places where I meet Him. Every day I coo at my birds, and I know the cold is coming, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. All I can do is say thank You for the mist. Whether I am grateful or not, whether or not I stand at the pond with an idiot’s smile, the fog still gathers up like a haunting. Deer still cautiously sneak through the woods. The wild flowers still bloom. All I know is that life is exponentially sweeter with grateful pauses, with rest, with the release that comes with being small and knowing the wild.