Skip to main content

Head Walker to Heart Warrior Part 1

My father called me Twinkle Toes as a child, but I was not the light-footed fairy that nick-name might conjure up. I dropped, broke, or tripped over, whatever was in my path. As I grew up, I resisted this part of my identity, not wanting it to define me. I thought I had succeeded but didn't realise that if an inner state doesn't change, its symptoms can present differently, but they don't go away--they are red flags, waiting for someone to pay attention.

When they were younger, two of our granddaughters lived with their parents in our basement apartment. Tori told me one day that she always knew who was walking around upstairs by our footsteps, "Your steps are fast, Omie. Grandad's steps are slow and loud." I laughed and agreed with her. I walked everywhere fast and even broke into a run for no good reason besides getting to my destination more quickly. Walking with someone who walked at a stroll was hard for me. I had to will myself to slow down and curb my impatience.

Oh, my impatience. I prayed about it a year ago and wrote the prayer down:
"Lord since patience is a fruit of the Spirit, and since you value that quality more than all the rushing and urgency with which I live, please teach me to slow down and care for the things you do. Transform me from the stressed, edgy, annoyed person I can be, to a person who carries your peace and attention into every situation. And please forgive me for wounding people with my intensity and distraction."

God's timing is not our timing. He sometimes lets us steep a while, like tea, but he doesn't forget prayer. A whole year later, I began to recognise that some of my hard edges had at their root, anxiety. It hadn't been evident to me, but once I saw it, so many scenarios made sense. Impatience was a symptom, not the cause.

I posted a photo on Facebook on a recent summer long weekend. It was of a quiet corner on our little deck, one of my happy places. My caption read, "A breeze, some shade, some books. Heaven." After posting it, I spotted something as incongruous as champagne at a wiener-roast. Probably no one but me knew what it was and I hate to admit it even here. A timer. That photo captured my life in a nutshell--all of the contradictions--a  desire for peace and reflection, and my constant attempts to schedule every minute, even my leisure time. "Attempts," because I never succeeded in following the schedule or accomplishing all that I hoped, but it wasn't for lack of trying. I could laugh or cry at the photo but either way, it was another red flag.

The clincher was when I reflected on the effect of my issue on others--that at times I am not a peaceful presence in the environment. It was only then that real transformation began.

To be continued.    

The fruit of that righteousness(A) will be peace;
    Its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:7 NIV


Unknown said…
I know exactly how you feel. Looking forward to Part 2.
Belinda Burston said…
Ah, bless you! Thank you.

Popular posts from this blog

The Most I've Ever Paid for Something I Didn't Want

We were young, that’s my excuse. I was 23 and Paul 26, but already we had done a lot of living in our time together--more than most youngsters of today would have done by then.
We had been married for almost four years, had immigrated to a new country, over 6,000 km away from home and were parents to a 3 and 1-year-old. We owned our own house--or at least two mortgages on the house and had settled down, or so I thought. Paul and I were barely scraping by, but we were making it on one salary, while I stayed home to care for our children.
It is at such times; I have come to understand, now that I am much older, that we should prepare for an adventure, for one is surely coming. 
Paul had a long drive to work, down a highway known for danger in the winter. He felt that we should explore moving closer to his place of work. I was happy in our home--had overcome two years of homesickness and loved our little village in the country. I was not in favour of the proposed move, but I did believe th…

Head Walker to Heart Warrior Part 2

One recent Saturday, I drove to St. Mary's to celebrate the Heritage Day festivities with my daughter. By then I was well into another journey, the search for a peaceful heart.

I had started the two and a half hour drive, early, choosing a route that avoided highways and had just driven through Beeton when the crossing lights up ahead signalled that a train was coming. I slowed to a stop and watched the hypnotic stream of boxcars, a seemingly endless graffiti gallery, gently swaying by on their way. A random surprise art exhibit.
As I drove through the village of Hockley, listening to CBC Radio, the bluesy voice of Canadian jazz artist, Laila Biali kept me company and set me bopping in my seat with her song, Queen of Hearts.  
Along one of the back roads after leaving the town of Orangeville, a big white tent stood in a field with a sign at the gate saying, "Gospel Meeting. All Welcome." The word "gospel," comes from an old English word with two parts: God (go…

Boundaries and Bonds

Almost three years ago, on the first Sunday of my "retired life," I left the church after morning service giddy with newfound freedom. Instead of turning left, from the church driveway, to go straight home, as usual, I decided to turn right, drive to the nearby village and visit my mother-in-law, whom I love.

I found her in her backyard, sitting on a garden swing, beneath a canopy that shaded her from the August sun. She loves to be out in the fresh air and loves to garden. Undeterred by the fact that her knees hurt and her leg may "give way" at any moment, she will strategize as though planning a complex military operation, and somehow accomplish the goal she has in mind. In between these manoeuvres, she will stop until she regains energy for the next onslaught.

That afternoon, we sat for a couple of pleasant hours in the sun. Around us, insects buzzed, birds sang, the breeze played with our hair as the canvas canopy over our heads flapped--and we talked--and talked…