Sometimes, in the shadows of the early dawn, I turn my world upside down and read the Midday office instead of Morning Lauds.
I know, I know. Makes you wonder how I cope with the ensuing hysteria, right?
Most days, I find a way. Yes, like today.
My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
Not every mystery requires a solving. I’m coming to know this. I’ve pulled on a few too many loose ends in my day only to find myself with a big, tangled up pile of yarn and no sweater, deeply aware that I’ve forgotten how to knit.
There are matters that are simply too great, too wonderful for me. Matters that leave me quiet, sometimes pondering, sometimes just nodding and stepping away before the inclination to pull the yarn propels my hand into the wool.
The weaned child, the quiet one, who doesn’t need to suckle every 90 minutes, who knows there’s more where that came from, who can sometimes be sustained through a time of empty-bellied waiting by the simple knowledge that dinner will be on the table sometime this evening — that child is content to do what is there for doing, receive what is there for receiving, be still until it’s time for a little ruckus.
Eugene Peterson has me this morning, along with our King David.
Often our conscious Christian lives do begin at points of desperation, and God, of course, does not refuse to meet our needs. Heavenly comforts break through our despair and persuade us that “all will be well and all manner of things will be well.” The early stages of Christian belief are not infrequently marked with miraculous signs and exhilarations of spirit. But as discipleship continues, the sensible comforts gradually disappear. For God does not want us neurotically dependent on him but willingly trustful in him. And so he weans us. The period of infancy will not be sentimentally extended beyond what is necessary. The time of weaning is very often noisy and marked by misunderstandings: I no longer feel like I did when I was first a Christian. Does that mean I am no longer a Christian? Has God abandoned me? Have I done something terribly wrong?
The answer is, neither. God has not abandoned you and you haven’t done anything wrong. You are being weaned. The apron strings have been cut. You are free to come to God or not come to him. You are, in a sense, on your own with an open invitation to listen and receive and enjoy our Lord.
— A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 156
It’s funny, I think, how perhaps a “period of infancy” can last more than 40 years.