But last night we could see the stars. It has been long, very long since we last saw them, and Tinus goes out every evening to look for them. We were grateful to see them up there, very grateful.
We are in a small cabin next to the Redstone Lake in the north eastern part of Ontario, Canada. We are the only people here, except for 2 others in a cabin further down the lake. Peace and quiet? This is it. This IS peace and quiet. God is here – like everywhere else, but it's easier to hear Him here, because noise and distractions are so little. This time here is confirmation that it is good to visit a very secluded place periodically, to have the ideal setting to hear God's whispers. If this is true even while we are on our world tour with a much slower pace than usual, how much more important to schedule such times when we are back home, on the run. Praise God that He is not restricted by speed or noise, He speaks even while we run. But we...or I am limited in my hearing when I am always on the run. This retreat is good, and necessary for me. This is special. It is hard too, because God is faithful and He really wants me to look more like Jesus. So when I allow Him, He lifts up a mirror for me to see myself, to see the "not so nice" spots, to repent and to be filled with His likeness in those areas. Less of Chrisna, more of Jesus...
This place, like so many other places before, allows us to soak in the diversity of God's Creation. Here it is also green with water, and I mean lots of water. This whole area is covered with lakes. It is not 1 big lake, it is many, many different lakes. One lake upon the next as far as you drive, with areas of treefilled land in between. I wonder if you will find a road to drive here where there is not water next to it! The green is overwhelming. It will be strange (and VERY special) to see the dry blond-brown country of Namibia again. But for now, we thoroughly enjoy the green and the water.
Speaking of water, we were at Niagra Falls a week ago and that's water for you!
We were IN the falls. Yes, we did stand at the top and watched the spectacular falls, but we were also literally IN the falls! We went on a boat right up to the falls, and we from Namibia stood right in the front of the boat. Most of the other people were either inside the boat or on deck, but safely to the back. Not us, we were there in the wind and the water of the falls and of course got soaking wet. Oh, what a joy! It was better than any rollercoaster or thrill ride can ever dream to be... The falls are beautiful – both the Horseshoe and the American vertical falls. We spent 6 hours there soaking in the view, the spray of the tumbling water and the sun. Yes, it was our first summer day with (as they call it) toasting temperatures of 23 degrees Celsius. (what on earth will they call our moderate average 35 degrees C?!)
We enjoyed a picnic on the grass. I'm pretty good at packing picnics nowadays, because we always take our own food, it is just SO much more affordable. Eating out - even at the franchise fast food places- are too expensive for us. This fight to stay within our budget has become an adventure and helped us to discover and treasure the fun of having picnics . It takes a little more effort and planning, but it's equally enjoyable, perhaps even more, than visiting a restaurant. Having fun, building memories, does not have to cost a lot of money. Go with what you can afford, an attitude of expectation and thankfulness and great company, and you have a feast! Any place...
We are having a feast! We are blessed! We are thankful!
And although this is wonderful and I often wish it can go on and on, we know THIS feast will end in 3 months time and we will return home. And then ...yet another feast will start! We will be ready...Thank you Lord
A few days after finishing this blog (it wasn't posted yet because the lake is an internet free zone), I read this in the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster and I realized this is a good summary of this blog and confirmation of what I've experienced. That's why I've decided to quote it (my own free translation into Namlish) here, to remind me when we're back home of this truth.
"One of the disciplines through which we are to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ is meditation. A heart that is fragmented, harassed, swept away with frantic activity, is not prepared for meditation. I need Otium Sanctum, or Holy Leisure. This is a sense of balance in life, an ability to be at peace through the activities of the day, the ability to rest, the ability to take time to enjoy beauty, the ability to pace myself. This is what I must pursue!" This then is what this year , or 9 months, is called. It's not a sabbatical, or a long holiday, or a break, or even just a blessing. It's a Otium Sanctum, and this week here by the lake is an Intense Otium Sanctum (if you get something like that), and this is what I must continue to pursue, specifically back home – in the reality of life.
It sounds difficult, but that's why it is called "pursue", and not just "do" .
Thank you God, for being faithful, fot being real and alive. Thank you that you will be at my side in my pursuit...