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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Strolling

So, I wanted my first post to be a foundational, exegetical espousal of Jesus's call and example to soul care. But, I'm going to leave that heavy lifting to the pastors. What really captures my heart is the idea of sacred places. I don't mean places like The Vatican or Notre Dame, I mean the secret places where we can retreat to find soul rest in the busyness of our days.

I've found several of these over the years in Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Charlotte and, especially, Rock Hill where I work. My new favorite place is an asphalt trail that is about a 15 minute stroll around the lake in front of my office. I've walked it most days for the last two weeks. After being in this building for 11 years, I'd never experienced it.

Now, it's not picturesque. It's surrounded by buildings and rip rap and I'm scared of the geese. But, it's mine and it's close and it has flowing water. Around 10am, I stop whatever I'm doing, or not doing as the case may be, to spend 15 minutes with Jesus. Sometimes I process the previous night's conflict with my wife, sometimes I pray for my work, sometimes I just walk...quietly...with Jesus.

As a commercial real estate 100% commissioned guy, times are not good financially. Practical knowledge tells me to work more and harder to make any money available in this terrible market. I'm reminded though of a series of passages in Luke 4-9 where Jesus heals and prays, rebukes the pharisees and prays, selects the apostles and prays, feeds the 5,000 and prays. How much more good could He have done if he'd not been praying all the time? With Jesus as my guide, I'll err on the side of being with Him more.

I have a long and inconsistent history making this time of quiet. I'm recommitted to simplifying my life, and am excited to watch the trees bud and bloom on my path. I'll write more in future posts about making space for simplicity, how cigars helped me make time for Jesus, and spiritual rhythms in a busy career. Looking forward to strolling with you.

5 comments:

Matt Guzi said...

The lake at the Arboretum has been a good place like that for me and I'm wanting to try St. Mary's Chapel near Uptown (www.stmaryschapelcharlotte.com/location.html). It's a great picture for me of what we're talking about - a sacred place carved out right in the middle of Urban chaos and busyness. Though I do more sitting than strolling :-)

Love to hear what places others have found...

Matt Ham said...

Jason you wrote: "Practical knowledge tells me to work more and harder to make any money available in this terrible market" and my heart resonates with you. Practical knowledge may not tell me to work more and harder in order to make money but it always whispers to me to work harder in order to be worth something! No matter how much I accomplish on my to do list in order to relax and rest, it keeps whispering in my ear, "don't be a lazy bum". I feel like Rocky Balboa trying to prove that I'm not.

James said...

Cruizing on a bike in the neighborhood helps me decompress more than strolling, as I feel like I finally get ahead of the busyness in my head that way.

James said...

For a sacred place while at home in Charlotte, I usually aim for an amphitheater bench at Freedom Park. Lying down on a bench with your heels atop the backrest, you get a full-scope of the sky and a bit of buffer to the world being among the rows. The clean sounds of the fountain, geese, conversations of passing walkers, kids playing/ laughing, and a distant little league game make a great foundation for studying the clouds, or lack there of.

James said...

I try to 'hit the bench for 30-45min each week by myself - no book, no quiet-time, no music, no-body. I used to (and sometimes still do) think that it's a selfish and un-righteous expense of time. Not anymore. Just me and the sky and the HS filtering and organizing my thoughts as they catch-up to me and marinate a bit.