I'm learning to wander.
My Media and Society class did a required media fast. When the fast was announced, a room full of communication students turned into defense attorneys. I smiled and held back my laughter. It was only three days, and Dr. Weier promised we would survive.
In contrast to my lawyer-turned classmates, I was looking forward to the break. A moment of quiet in a world full of cacophony. I didn't argue. There was one added piece to this media fast: we had to engage in an intentional habit. Something like playing a board game, cooking a meal, or taking a stroll.
I opted for the last one. I love being outdoors, taking hikes, and exploring God's creation, but school typically keeps me chained to my desk. I wasn't going to turn down some homework-induced fresh air. After I had finished my classes one Friday, I chose to take a leisurely stroll. I set out with no objective other than wandering.
I started meandering my way to the back of campus. My mind kept tugging me toward my homework and how this was a "waste of time." I knew it wasn't a waste, but the tug was hard to ignore. As I looked at the puffy clouds sliding along the cool blue sky, I sucked in a deep breath. Counted to four, then exhaled. I marveled at not just the sky but also the God who constructed it. The God who deserved to be worshipped.
I ignored the call of homework and focused on my surroundings. I kept walking till I found a dirt path with a single yellow cord fence to show the boundaries of the trail. A new discovery. I had been to the back of campus many times. It must have been built over the summer. I set out down the yellow chord road with only God and some chattering birds to keep me company.
I walked along the path between the gangly trees and listened to the gravel shift beneath my feet. It was an almost comedic sight: to my left, trees and songbirds, and a road and roaring cars to my right. I had reached the very back corner of campus. My soul soared within me at the time spent outside, alone, a rare but cherished commodity for introverts. It may not have been some breathtaking hike, but it was an adventure nonetheless.
My walk reminded me of the value of wandering amidst the chaos. The importance of ignoring the siren call of to-do lists and taking a moment. Pausing when we have no fight left in us. You can pause, but you can't stop. You can take a nap, but you can't stay asleep. The difference between an amateur and a professional is that "a professional is an amateur who simply didn't quit." I don't know where I heard that quote, but it gives me hope. When school feels like being thrown into the ocean with an anchor tied to me, I remind myself of that.
I can't quit, and you can't either. We were made for such a time as this. We are walking down the path God has laid out for us. We can't quit, not because there's something great about us, but because God simply doesn't want us to quit. God says to never grow weary of doing good. He knew the call to give up would be loud. He knew we would be "too tired" to pour into people, yet He says to keep pressing in.
Yet, God knew the importance of rest. He called us to a sabbath. He showed us how by resting on the seventh day of creation. The almighty God of the universe didn't NEED it, but He took time to show us the importance of rest. He knew if we didn't, we would quit. Resting gives us the strength to combat the desire to give up, to ignore the pull of busyness.
I'm bad at resting. I power through till I burn out and can't go another step. I say yes to everything and leave no room to recharge, and then I wonder why I'm ready to throw in the towel later. I understand the importance of the pause, of the gaps in life. I happily take them when they come, but I'm not very good at seeking them out. Here's to learning how to make space for pauses. I'm not a professional wanderer yet, but maybe one day I'll have mastered the lost art. One day it'll become natural to defy the pressure to be busy all the time and just breathe.