Last Friday morning, I attended a renewing yoga class. Before the class, I was rushing around my house at the last minute trying to quickly get ready so that I would not be late. I wanted to take my yoga mat, and I could not find it anywhere. I looked in closets and underneath beds. I even went outside and looked in my storage shed since it has been awhile since I have been to a class. I literally looked in every nook and cranny of my house. No yoga mat. Could not find the thing anywhere. When I determined that I would be late if I did not leave that minute, I resigned myself to not having a mat for class. Oh well…I would make it. I might not enjoy the experience as much, but it certainly wasn’t the end of the world.
As I zoomed into the parking lot of the class building on two wheels, I realized that I desperately needed the class. I bounded through the door, discovering that the instructor had extra mats available. I took my place on an unclaimed mat and was beautifully led into a process of letting go, stretching and cooling down. It was a delicious hour! I felt like a very different person afterwards. I was much more focused and relaxed and ended up enjoying a productive afternoon and evening.
When I returned home, I went into my home office to work on the upcoming REFRESH Women’s Retreat. As soon as I entered my office, you won’t believe what I saw leaning against my white wingback chair. My yoga mat! In plain view…enclosed in a black case…leaning against a white chair. Not hiding behind anything. I could not believe it. If I had later discovered the mat tucked in one of the closets I had searched or hiding underneath one of the beds I glanced under that would have been one thing. But right in front of my face, black against white, plenty of sunshine streaming in the windows of the room. That was another thing entirely.
As soon as I spotted the mat, I realized that there was a lesson for me to learn in that moment that I believe is true for the vast majority of us. When we are rushed and harried and trying to fit too many things into a small amount of time, we are often going to miss the grace that leans on the chair right in front of our eyes. We know that. We’ve experienced it many times before. The things of God are all around us, but we can’t see them because we have covered our lives in activity. Grace had to come to me in literal black and white for me to get it.
Speaking about learning how to balance being and doing in our spiritual life is not new at Hayes Barton. Preaching and teaching about the importance of practicing holy habits like prayer and worship is not new to us. Opportunities for us to participate in contemplative prayer practices in our Come to the Water services or our silent retreats at Avila is not new to us. We often hear about the need for contemplation to inform our action as we journey through our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. But hearing about it and living it are two very different things.
This Sunday, January 22, we have an opportunity to be hear a teacher who has worked hard to find how to incorporate life-giving reflective practices in her life. Phileena Heuertz, speaker for our women’s retreat, will preach at our Lighthouse Service at 8:45. If you want to learn more about why we need this kind of balance in our lives, consider coming to hear her. All are welcome! Grace is all around us. It doesn’t always appear in clear view, but it is always available to us. How can we stop rushing around so that we will be able to catch sight of it? Come and find out!
Blessings and love, LuAnn