A few months ago I was on a long weekend road trip helping a friend shoot on the street interview videos for a project she’s pursuing. In the lovely little city of Asheville, NC we met Sally.
Sally shared the story of her battle with alcoholism. She recalled the day she got sober – the day she woke up to find that her husband refused to go buy her usual daily box of wine from the liquor store. She went back to bed and finally crawled out sometime around 2:00pm. She had been drunk for so long that she didn’t know how to participate in her life as a sober person. What really struck me was what she did next. After feeling sorry for herself for a while she got up & started doing laundry. She had no clue how to “be sober” but she knew she needed to participate in the simple actions of life again & laundry was something she knew how to do. It was a life preserver she could grab hold of while she felt like she was drowning.
For a lot of my life I used work & busy activity as a way to avoid feeling, to avoid life. And there are times when I can still fall into that trap. But at the same time, when life feels like it’s spinning out of control all around me & I’m gasping for air, the work of life can be like a life preserver.
Growing up in church, I learned early on to over-spiritualize everything. When life knocks you to your knees that’s the best position to pray in, right?! That line of thinking would tell me that when life feels like it’s spinning out of control I should pray like I’ve never prayed before & God will give me peace.
I don’t doubt that God is the source of all peace. And that He grants it even when we don’t ask for it. But I’m discovering that doesn’t mean I have to sit idly by. Sometimes simply participating in the mundane activity of life gives me the space to catch a breath. It’s a handle to grasp onto. And as I go through the motions God’s love & peace soak into my heart through the back door that is unguarded by fear & doubt.