There is a book on our shelf containing four volumes by C.S. Lewis: Surprised by Joy, Reflections on the Psalms, The Four Loves, and The Business of Heaven. Looking at the spine of the book one day I became curious: all of the titles were familiar to me, save one: The Business of Heaven. I pulled the book off the shelf, opened up to the page where the volume began and read:
The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. - C.S. Lewis, The Business of Heaven
This image of the wild animals has stayed with me clearly since that first reading.
“…Coming in out of the wind,” he says. A friend recently told me of standing on top of the Empire State Building. The strength and noise of the wind astounded her. She couldn’t hear what the people standing right next to her were saying.
The sound of the wind fills our ears making it impossible to hear anything else but its insistent roar. Jesus invites us to come into the calm surety of His presence, to step in out of the wind, moment by moment, every day.
Sometimes I wake already wrestling those animals, already anxious and worried, losing the battle to lists and expectations, as Lewis puts it “all our wishes and hopes for the day.” Wishes and hopes sound positive, don’t they? The problem lies when those wishes and hopes do not get fulfilled, when something thwarts them and we are left with something else entirely, a day that looks nothing like we wished or hoped it would.
Earlier this week, I said yes to pancakes, chocolate chip ones. And tea, hot tea, with sugar and cream.
My initial plan for the day had been to simply slap some bagels on the table and get on with it, to rush on ahead of the clock and into this day so that I wouldn’t feel behind, behind, behind.
Into my hopes and dreams for the day walked my girls with their sleep tousled hair and their jammies still on, asking for some kitchen love.
So I said yes. On the outside, I was doing a “nice mommy” thing: making a delicious, hot breakfast for my children. But it took quite a while for the inner me to stop seething over the time ticking away. Inside I was actually angry, feeling that push of time, like I was already behind even before serving breakfast.
I forced myself to stand there at the stove, breathing slow, watching the bubbles come up on the pancakes. Just being there, in the moment, the warm fragrance of chocolate and batter filling my senses.
And then it came. Or rather, He came.
And He spoke softly to me. This act of love is worth doing, He said.
Sometimes being on schedule IS extremely important. This morning, however, was not one of those times.
The homeschool police were NOT going to show up at my door and wonder why school hasn’t started already! At least I didn’t think they were. I was willing to chance it, anyway.
I was free to love, free to let those first hopes and dreams of the day go and to listen to “that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in”.
The pancakes were really, really good.