Beating Burn-Out and Burning Long
It floods and crashes, this wall of raindrops thundering and crescendo-ing around us. This is the second sheet of water this afternoon, long roaring showers that drift in my open windows, batter the leaves, and rush in tiny tsunamis down the side of the road.
|Photo: DeShaun Craddock, Creative Commons, cc license|
Water soaks into the green lawn, and pools in puddles, reminding me of where I need to extend my gutters. And I breathe it in, this heady scent of rain, soil, and wet leaves.
It’s been a dry month. Tomato plants are yellow bones with drooping withered fruits. Today’s rains soak deep into the ground and run racing in channels down the streets.
Back in the kitchen, I scrub hardened egg off saucers, rub dried tea stains off mugs, and catch a glimpse of the flickering candle on the counter. Green mounded edges curve towards the light on a candle that needs to be glowing for several hours. For best results, keep candle burning for six hours at a time, the label says, and I’ve seen it. How the hardened candle needs to be in the light, next to the fire, and kept simmering there for best results. How it’s the heat and the light over time that burns the candle for the longest use and most even life. Otherwise, the label explains, the candle will burn unevenly and flare hotter deep within, but leaving the outside cold and unaffected. Soon, the candle would be burnt out inside, with the exterior useless, no longer able to reach the flame.
And it reminds me of me. Because any task can be worship, and my desire is to meditate long on God’s word –his light and heat — to stay soft, useful, moldable. The verse that’s been flickering through my heart this week has become a mantra the last few days. I whisper it to myself on tired mornings, speak it out as prayer in bleak moments, and singsong it as joyful song.
“The Lord gives strength to his people; he blesses his people with peace.” I’ve seen that this week, and asked him for that, sinking deep into its truth. Our Creator God spills out barrels and gallons of his strength and sends crashing waves of his peace despite storms.
I can still see the rain outside my kitchen window. It’s simmered to a warm mist, and the world is washed by it. My green candle burns long, its edges curving inward. I dry my hands and, with even pressure, gently slide the top wax towards the heat. It glimmers and glows, and it feels like worship.
|Photo: Michelle Muirhead, Creative Commons, cc license|