Children often appear to be constant motion machines. As grandparents, we are rediscovering the challenge of keeping up with the frantic pace of our grandkids. However, we also observe that little ones batteries drop off rapidly. This can register in “out of control” behavior, demands for attention or tears. In such instances adults provide for a “time out,” in the form of a nap, or quiet time in the room, or a stint in a corner. This isn’t “punishment,” though sometimes it feels like it. It really is training in self-management, discipline.
We all experience “time-outs” in life. Sometimes they are imposed, sometimes we choose to step apart and sometimes they come unwanted and unwelcome. I think of Kobe Bryant suffering a shoulder injury facing an aggravating “time out.” Or Adrian Peterson, suspended from football under charges of abuse and the opportunity to regain his bearings. ”Time outs’ can feel like “punishment,” like dry and barren places. In these wilderness seasons we can experience loneliness, desolation, uncertainty and sorrow as well as relief, solitude and stillness.
We continually learn the childhood lesson that life is not constant activity, uninterrupted progress, or endless success. “Time out” seasons are inevitable, and are essential to the rhythm of the human journey. They register the demands that compassion and caring require.
During the season of Lent we will join Jesus in his time in the wilderness and open ourselves to the restoration, the wisdom and clarity that come in this arid territory. We will explore how a “time out” is a time of;
- learning and discovery,
- pondering challenges, uncertainties and fears
- dependency, when we learn to draw from holy roots
- doubt and deepening trust
- receiving comfort and experiencing renewal
- relinquishment and beginnings
So, find a corner with a view, take a nap or go to your room (or quiet place), and allow this Lenten Journey to equip you to engage more fully the “time out” experiences that will come your way.
Pastor Mark Ulrickson