“I came around the corner from my office and didn’t recognize him at first. It took me back because my mind was elsewhere, and then I heard his voice and saw that twinkle in his eye. It was George.”
Our friend, Phil Porter, texted those words to me a few weeks ago as we were exchanging some messages back and forth one spring morning. While George Butler was away on his Clergy Renewal Leave, he made his way over to the University of Virginia one day while in that state visiting family. Phil now works at UVA and had not seen George in a couple of years since he moved from Texas to Virginia to help take care of his mother and be closer to other family and friends in that part of the country.
The last time Phil had been with George and me, we all had tired and weary eyes. Our eyes were windows to our souls. We had been walking through a challenging season together and although the Lord was faithful and true each step of the way, each of us were in a place where our souls needed refreshment.
George and his beautiful bride, Beth, returned from their extended time of renewal and rest a few days ago. I see again that twinkle in their eyes that Phil had noticed. The twinkle came from a window into a soul that had experienced rest, refreshment, renewal, and time to let his soul breathe deeply from the wellspring of God’s goodness.
I look forward to continuing to learn and hear how George and Beth’s time away has impacted their lives. I expect our time with them on Sunday, July 16 during the morning worship hour and then later that afternoon will be a great opportunity to hear more of what they learned from their time away.
In the meantime, I believe the Lord desires for each of us to catch our breath with Him. It would be great if we all could go on a four month sabbatical. That’s probably not going to happen any time soon. But in the meantime, perhaps a daily 4 to 40 minute cup of coffee in quiet with a slow read and prayerful digestion of the Psalms is in order.
A daily time to walk the dog in the coolness of the evening may be more than some exercise. Perhaps it’s a rhythmic way to catch my breathe with God.
A choice to turn off the technology and tune into a chapter in a book or linger over dinner with my family may be used to breathe fresh oxygen into my soul.
I do love these summer days that afford some time of travel and extended time with family while not in the routines that are present in the school year. Those days are on the horizon. For now, I am mindful of soul care and learning to breathe deeply in the moments and mini-margins of life.
I wonder if my eyes will reflect such things that are taking place in my own soul.