posted by Emily Meade, June 25 2013
Let me share with you a summary of last weekend’s events.
- 12-4pm: weeding and great conversation
- 4-8pm: driving home and attending a delightful piano recital featuring my baby sister
- 9pm-1:30am: 5-hour surprise ER visit with a partially dislocated kneecap
- 5:30am-2pm: plane ride from Detroit to D.C. to San Diego
Now, let me explain.
We spent our Friday afternoon weeding a plethora of very weed-filled beet beds. Weeding is tough, as you rotate from a squat to knees to bucket to straddle as you attempt to relieve your back in any way possible. But weeding is also very therapeutic. And I’ve found our best conversations have been fostered as we pull, squat, and stretch.
Friday was no exception. April, per usual, provided us with a discussion question: “What is something you’ve learned about yourself recently?”
It always takes me awhile to process the question and to think of an answer. After listening to everyone’s insightful responses and doing some personal reflection, I attempted to explain myself.
I’ve always known I am a planner and worrier extraordinaire but I also believe that everything happens for a reason. You can see where this becomes problematic when “things” that happen don’t fall into my plan and I end up worrying myself silly. That’s where control and trust come into play: the former I want too much and the latter I have not enough.
As we have been reading and studying the book, Living the Sabbath, together as a group, a theme that has struck me is exactly this dilemma: letting go and trusting God. Our job, as ironic and backwards as it might seem, is to facilitate Him by accepting the circumstances, letting go of our own agenda and utilizing what we are provided with to reach a higher goal.
Norman Wirzba uses this to explain how we are supposed to work and struggle with nature (what God has provided to us) to grow and prepare food that will nourish us: body, mind and soul. Within the work and especially within the struggle it is crucial that we take time to stop and recognize God within the chaos, within the peace, within the seeds and the meals and the thunderstorms. And we must let go. Work is important but this recognition is imperative, and it is the Sabbath.
This way of thinking is a way of life. It requires a complete surrender of our own plans and expectations. As I explained to my co-interns on Friday, I appreciate reading and discussing this theme because it is something I struggle with every single day. As a mega-planner and future-need-to-knower, when things happen that I cannot control, I find myself still worrying, thinking that, for some reason, this time, my worrying will help. But recognizing the problem is the first step, right? “I’m really working to let go of control,” I told everyone that afternoon. Little did I know, I would get a crash course practice session later that evening.
After driving home I was walking across my backyard with my dad when our golden retriever, who (until now) I thought was the cutest dog in the world, barreled into my knee from behind, full force with full weight, knee going one way, leg going the other, and I was on the ground in a hurry.
As I was laying on the ground (after I realized I wasn’t dead or dying) all I could think was, “This wasn’t supposed to happen.” While sitting in the ER for 5 hours I was mad and frustrated and upset, voicing question after question, “How am I supposed to get on a plane to California in 6 hours?” “How will I do anything while I’m there?” “What’s wrong with it?” “Where is the doctor?” “WHY did this happen?” “HOW WILL I WEED?”
And then I paused. The conversation back in the beet beds played through my head and I couldn’t help but smile. I could just see God: “So control, huh? I can help you with that.”
It was eerie, in an awesome kind of way, to be given this opportunity to stop, un-plan and let go of what I thought needed to happen. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve lost my cool a couple times since this realization, struggling with limited mobility, and having to look at a fat, eggplant-esque knee. But I’m learning; I’m pausing and letting go. And appreciating what a jokester the big man upstairs really is.