My 7-year-old daughter loves to sing, and she recently had a chance to sing in front of a small group at a recital. The performance seemed to melt away any remnants of self-consciousness and free her inner chanteuse, because since then she’s been belting out Adele and Katy Perry and even Rascal Flatts at home. The other day she turned on an old favorite – Carrie Underwood’s Jesus Take the Wheel. Every time she launches into the chorus I have to laugh, remembering how she used to think it was Jesus take the Wii. She’d wear her Ipod in the car and sing that line so earnestly that it I hated to finally tell her what the real lyrics were.
Two years later, she sings it beautifully, but I still think Jesus take the Wii. That was especially fitting as I packed my kids’ suitcases for summer camp and thought Take the Wii, take the Ipod, take the Kindle and the computer…. Please give these kids some nature! I want my kids to learn to live unplugged. I worry that they’ll never hear that small still voice if it doesn’t come through an earpiece. I know how much I struggle to tune into intuition and divine guidance, and I grew up playing on the beach and running through blueberry fields. How will they ever find and know God in this age of overstimulation?
As usual, when I have these kinds of thoughts, the universe seems to respond with a sort of worry-about-yourself-lady response. We made an impromptu stop at the beach and as the kids ran up to the shoreline, I saw my daughter point to the ground and yell to her brother, “Look, it’s a perfectly good hole!” And it was. I sat beside it as they played and contemplated how this perfectly good hole was related to my current struggle: a pesky, recurring lack of trust. Certain plans I’ve made have been slow to materialize. Money has run low. Unexpected challenges have stalled my forward progress. I’ve been working on faith but it’s felt like just that: work. I’ve been stuck in a hole and it’s felt far from good.
But holes, ruts, dead ends, dark places – they all require us to wait; to be still. They require a faith that is powered by a greater source, one that keeps its connection even when we feel unplugged. It’s a faith that says This is where I am, and it’s perfectly good.
Just days after sitting beside that wise hole, I got another lesson when my car wouldn’t start. It needed a new battery, but after the repair a mysterious electrical problem appeared, leaving the entire console dead. I can drive, but have no gas gauge, no speedometer, no radio, no indicator lights. So I can get where I’m going, but don’t know how fast I’m getting there, or how much energy it’s taking me. And this was all timed to coincide with our vacation, so I’ve driven hours now with no music, and very little conversation, since of course my kids had to enjoy their last hours of Ipod time, leaving me in the unplugged silence, the quiet state of being, that I had wished on them. So I listened for my own small still voice and then did the only thing I could. I sang.