My last couple of weeks, two weeks really almost at the mark right now, have been turbulent; I would say they’d been rough. But that’s mostly just been turbulent. It’s been hard. Not because I wasn’t a part of and doing some really great things, I was. I had a wonderful time in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and I was in Santa Cruz with Young Life staff. And I was doing things that were wonderful. I was only somewhat present in some of those things. Because internally, I was really having a hard time. And while there are a number of factors to that, one of the main factors is the two weekends ago was Father’s Day weekend. And it’s almost always a tricky, sticky, and other kind of icky weekend for me; as a dad, I love being celebrated. Obviously, I like being with my kids. But man, as time has passed, I just miss my dad more on those days. The older I get, the closer I get to his age; when I lost him, the harder it is to miss him when I miss him. So it happens more. It happens less frequently than it used to happen. But when it happens, and it’s exacerbated by an entire holiday celebrating fatherhood, woof. That was a predominant factor. So in the meantime, I’m having these incredible experiences. And I get to do this incredible work. And I’m with these wonderful people. And I’m living in some form of disintegration, not terrible. And this is part of how we live a lot of the time. I didn’t have space. I didn’t have room, and I didn’t really want it to. I didn’t. I didn’t have space; I didn’t have room to actually deal with all that was going on in me. I needed to be present for what was in front of me. That’s part of how we live; that’s kind of unavoidable. I can have internal struggles; I can be doing something really incredible and wonderful, but I have to be in both places and both things at the same time. So I live a little bit divided. But I didn’t have time to let my soul catch up with myself entirely. This brings me to this; my friend Daniel introduced me to this John Dewey quote, the reads; We do not learn from experience; we learn from reflecting on experience. So I don’t learn from experience; the thing I’m in doesn’t really teach me anything directly. I can have all these experiences; I can receive all this data. I can have all these feelings. And then, at some point, the gift of rest as a practice is I let my soul and my experiences catch up with me. And intentionally, we call this the examine, look through what’s going on in me. And then I can learn I just had not until a couple of days ago had the time to let my life catch up with me so that I could be integrated and be whole, which is one way to talk about belovedness. In the book Sacred Strides, in the introduction, I lead out with this story, this image about jogging with my dad for the last time. Their story reads like this from the book. Running together with my dad was a key connection point until I lost him to depression and suicide in 1998. To this day, I still remember our last run. It was really hard. It was hard for him physically; it was hard for both of us emotionally. We barely got into the four miles that we planned to run before he started falling apart. His left knee hurt from a foul he’d taken a few months previously, and he couldn’t maintain his rhythm or his pace. He limped back to the car. And I remember him trying to hide his face. So I couldn’t see that he was crying. I’m sorry, I can’t keep up. He said. I was in my mid-20s At the time, and I was in decent running shape. But I didn’t need him to keep up. I just wanted him to be with me. Because I loved him. I know now how hard it was for my dad to believe the simple truth that he was just playing loved. I moved around to his weak side, lightly grabbed his wrist, and threw his arm over my shoulders, and we finished the last half mile that way, arms around each other. Walking step by step together, his weakness meant room for strength in me, which meant connection. And that’s all they ever wanted. Wholeness and integration is one of the gifts of the practice of rest that I can let my whole life catch up with me, including the things that are tearing me apart inside. I don’t have space for that, and most of my life, I actually have to be present in what’s in front of me. And sometimes, if not oftentimes, especially if I’m having a rough time internally. I’ve got to put that somewhere close to a backburner so that I can be present to the people to the job that I’m doing in front of me, which means that rest gets to be a place where I catch up with my whole self or my whole self catches up with me and I can look at the whole of my life, my victories, my successes, my positive and negative experience and let me be entirely myself and know that I am loved in every square inch of my whole life.
Links For Justin:
NEW Single – Let Go
NEW Music – Sliver of Hope
NEW Music – The Dood and The Bird