"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."
Charles Dickens wrote "A Tale of Two Cities" nearly two hundred years ago. His prescient voice makes me wonder, “Has it always been the best of times and the worst of times?” because it certainly feels true now.
Except for the best of times part.
Yes, we have unprecedented medical advancements; advancements that are available for you to benefit from if you live in certain parts of the world.
Yes, there are technological advancements so vast that they are mind boggling. (I’m not sure if I should put those in the best category or the worst category. I’ll give way that it belongs in both places for different reasons but the warning sign flashing on the soul to drop its siren songs of ease and false connection and run for the hills is very real.)
Yes, there is toilet paper, electricity and for most, running water from our faucets. There is same day delivery, one stop shopping from our living rooms, and drive throughs coming through in a nick of time. Yet the pace at which the world is running requires us to run to keep up and most of us are out of breath. Additionally, turning on the news or dropping onto social media can leave both your head and your heart spinning.
We live in a mad world. It has always been so. It is getting worse.
And in this mad world, my soul is increasingly rebelling against the quick drive through attempts to soothe it that I toss its way.
The soul needs space. It needs quiet. It needs rest. It needs room to slow down. It needs rhythms of grace and it needs to be tended by practices that will nourish it. It needs care.
You need care.
The soul has always needed care but never more so than when it finds itself navigating a time like the one we are living in. To survive, we can grit our teeth and gut it out and make it through the end of the day. To thrive, we have to stop gritting our teeth, gutting it out and instead open our hands and pay attention to our eternal selves - then we can make it through the decades not with a withered sense of self but with a robust one.
Our soul needs tending. Our hearts are crying out. “There has to be more!”
The Voice is real. There is more. There is a banqueting table prepared for us to feast at where our famished selves can be satisfied. We are not meant to live from scraped crumbs to scraped crumbs but from deep abundance to deep abundance. Like the crowd in Mark 8, we too are to “eat and be satisfied.” Taste and see that indeed the Lord is good. Jesus says, “the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from Heaven.” (John 6:58)
Life is what we are made for. We will not find it apart from Life Himself. He is holding out his hands to us even now to say, “Stop. Be still for a while. Listen to the cry of your heart. Bring your cries to Me.”
“Jesus, Light of the world, as I look to you today in what feels like a world gone mad and choose to follow you, would you please illuminate my way. Spirit of Truth, help me to navigate what this day holds. Thank you that in it all and through it all, you hold me. Bread of Heaven, would you nourish me with your Presence. As I quiet my soul in this very moment, breathing in your Presence, help me to fix the gaze of my heart on you and your all-encompassing love. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”