I went for a walk with my friend Joshua the other day. We meandered through snow covered roads, cold wind on our faces and quiet invading our hearts.
I talked and he was an audience of one as I shared my fragmented thoughts on the brokenness of our lives, and God's place in the midst of it.
I felt tears well at the thought of my struggling son*, a grief so consuming that my body felt heavy and broken inside, then I returned to the present and the sting of the cold whipped the wet away as I blinked back the tide.
Josh was quiet beside me, walking steadily, unencumbered by the weightiness of my thoughts and I became thankful for our time together.
I have been reading a book my husband brought home called "In the Name of Jesus" by Henri Nouwen.
In the introduction he described his move from the intellectual world of Harvard to the community of L'Arche, a home for mentally challenged people, and the change wrought in his heart and mind as he became priest to the broken instead of ministering to academia.
He described his busy life and how he was confronted with the question of whether being older, was bringing him closer to Jesus and he realized that his life was becoming emptier, not more full of Christ.
He then said, "...I woke up one day with the realization that I was living in a very dark place and that the term 'burnout' was a convenient psychological translation for a spiritual death."
So he asked God to direct him very specifically where to go and God answered in the person of Jean Vanier, founder of L'Arche communities. God said "Go and live among the poor in spirit, and they will heal you."
He then said "I moved from Harvard to L'Arche, from the best and brightest, wanting to rule the world, to men and women who had few or no words and were considered, at best, marginal to the needs of our society."
I wept at these words, for they are so true.
When Belinda received my application to return to Christian Horizons after many years away raising my children to school age, she cheered and said "Welcome back to the service of the King!"
Sadly, I was reticent to rejoice, being bogged down in my own struggles and lingering in that place of burnout, not feeling that spending time with broken people would replenish me, but further drain what I didn't already have. Yet I needed to work.
But God is so good. He denied my applications to other places of employ and situated me where I wasn't enthusiastic to go...until this weekend. I am beginning to understand, in a new way, His purposes, His unusual ways and the beauty in the brokenness of humanity.
I have begun to savor the sweetness in the smile of someone who doesn't know my name, but comes to grasp my hand and tell me things about themselves. I saw these people at some training last week, and love broke through.
Now I am rejoicing too and know that I am back in the service of the King!
*I have written about the struggle my son Nicky is having with seizures. Of late, they are worse than ever, sometimes all night long. We are working with a neurologist and medications to try and stabilize him. We are trusting the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as we face this giant in our lives. Please rejoice with us as we praise God, in advance, for his healing.