Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Space Between The Logs

“Jesus withdrew to deserted places to pray.” (Luke 5:16)

Last Fall, most of our church staff and myself took time apart for a short retreat in the north Georgia mountains. There, one of things we were challenged to consider was the ways that we in our lives and ministries are often so busy doing good “church” work that we don’t take time to be “fed” spiritually, and consequently find ourselves stressed and burned-out.

In one of our devotionals, a fellow staff member shared this poem by Judy Brown that reminds us all of our constant need to tend to our own spirits if we are to be any good to anyone else. I invite you to let it speak to you in the powerful way it spoke to me and others on our retreat:

“What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.”

[--Poem “Fire,” by Judy Brown in Leading From Within, by Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner, eds.]

Remember, God loves you and so do I!

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