April 1, 2014

Letting Go

I'm sitting on the beach, as my niece and daughter sift for seashells. They find treasure in the triangle of a broken sand dollar, in the top slice of a conch shell, in the marble smooth fragment that conjures God as artist. 

My son and nephew ride the waves, their shrieks rising to the seagulls and blue skies, and I wiggle my toes to the cool layer of sand and lean into the warm sun.   

Never mind that an email is waiting to be answered, one that needs nuance in the pushback. There's a call I should make about a disputed invoice. I've been cc'd on notes that require input and thoughtful replies, and there are manuscripts waiting for shaping. And in the midst of my yawn into beach drowsy, I suddenly realize I've also forgotten to write this blog, which I promised my dear editor I'd file on Monday. Many, many mea culpas.

But for crafting this blog, for these few hours, I'm letting go. It took a few days to shed work, and in two more days, I'll be at a conference, sharing ideas with other Christian publishers. But for this day, I've let go.

I look over at my sister. A particularly nasty fight a month ago stilled our phone calls and texts. Yet at the beach, away from our normal routine and pressures, we've let go. Both of us. Our conversation steers from kids to trips, from plans for dinner to the beauty of the ocean. And when silence comes, it's comfortable and sweet.

I know I need this in my life, this time away from after-school activities, bills, lunch meetings, and laundry. It refreshes and revives me, and I'm able to move more lightly through my days, to respond appropriately to problems instead of from a frazzled, end-of-my rope place. I bet a lot of our churches need this too. How can we give our congregations the equivalent of an oceanfront vacation? What can we do to give the space to breath, to let go, and to move on?