Saturdays are set apart.
It’s the one day of the week that I make sure to reserve for rest and for recharging with my Savior. Without a spiritual and physical refill on Saturdays, the sights and sounds of the week dry me up waaaaay too quickly, and I’m just plain useless.
Usually I’m outside – on a hike, finding a new waterfall, on a safari or some other grand adventure this glorious country has to offer. But today was a rainy Saturday.
I found caffeine and a patio protected from the unstopping rain. (It’s been going for over 12 hours!) And I cried out to be awakened by so much more than the latte.
I’ve seen and felt stories in the past few weeks that people just shouldn’t see – that children just shouldn’t live. I feel like I’ve internalized so much pain that I couldn’t stop the bleed, so I finally lost consciousness. I stopped being able to feel it.
Today I needed to feel the One who actually came to feel that pain and carry it - for them and for me so we don’t have to.
As I sat and sipped, I began reading and praying. I felt the far-off pull on my spirit – that gentle, tingly plea from His Spirit longing for access to wrap me in Truth and love.
But I was clogged. So I just got in the car.
And I was compelled on this rainy afternoon to break all the rules I set myself for Saturdays. On this Saturday, the day set aside for turning my face away from trauma to see beauty and find hope, I couldn’t stop driving to the children’s ward of the hospital.
So I climbed the slippery steps on this rainy Sabbath Saturday, I kicked off my shoes, and I jumped up onto 6 year-old Chantelle’s bed.
And I felt good.
I pulled out a sketchpad and a 24-pack of Crayola colored pencils. And she lit up. And instantly went to work.
When Given woke up, we piled into Chantelle’s bed together. Given started swirling colors on top of the psalms and prayers in my journal.
And it was good.
Inspiration was flowing out of bodies burned beyond imagination. And those children, with scars they’ll wear forever, were making beautiful art that I’ll never forget.
I stayed for hours.
I fed kids who needed help.
And helped them go to the toilet.
I gave forehead kisses.
I rubbed backs.
I rocked babies.
I didn’t go in there with my missionary cape on.
I hardly even prayed.
But I felt rest in that hospital full of broken, hurting baby bodies.
And I began to wonder if I was so compelled to go there because that was a place where the need for comfort, help and healing was so obvious and so necessary. And I couldn’t find that place in me.
In that hospital ward today, a few colored pencils brought glory and hope and delight. A hand on a back and a kiss on a forehead actually did make things better for a moment. And the smiles behind those scars were the only things I noticed.
Jesus, Burden-Bearer, Scar-Wearer,
I need a reason to sing – a song that sings louder than missing-child voicemails and wait-till-next-year phone calls. I need that peace that reaches hospitals, crushes lies and can resurrect the parts of me that feel dead. It’s in there – in me. Because you went to every hospital ward, you lay in every bed, you cried every tear, you received every kind of phone call and lived out the reality of them more than I ever will. You were more than burned, more than alone. You gave, obeyed, followed, abandoned and stood firm more. And then You promised more. You are more. More dwells in me.
Will you open up these closed parts? Can you receive this clamped and cramping, closed-down heart as an offering… and can you make it holy?
Can you make this beautiful?
It’s still Saturday.
It’s still the day for seeing beauty and finding hope.
It’s still raining and the stories are still happening.
But tonight I’m remembering that rest doesn’t come in a formula or wrapped in a pretty Sabbath bow. Rest comes with real people in real places in real daily life. Rest comes with sharing burdens on hospital beds. And sharing journal pages for color swirls.
And it’s good.