I am jealous of Henry David Thoreau. Yes, I do know he is deceased, but I cannot help it. I am still jealous.
After reading several chapters of My Side of the Mountain, a story of a New York boy who decides to live out on his own in the Catskills, A is doing some preliminary reading on Thoreau. As he is starting to do some research for his eventual essay, I began to re-read bits of Walden, various quotes from other sources and came upon this –
I think I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day…sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”
Exactly! If I could just spend half my waking hours away from all people, I would be replenished and peaceful. I could handle the rest of the day. This is fairly close to how I spent some of my time in my 20s. It was glorious. I was a Thoreau in a city park. Now, I am a mom of three boys with scarcely a moment to myself. Mr. Thoreau, my spirits are failing, but a hibernation to Walden Pond seems impossible. Four hours a day? Four consecutive minutes seems a stretch.
Given the opportunity I would not change my life, but am I the only one who complains about what I do have? The children are needy. Life, at times, seems tedious, and I can be easily preoccupied. My schedule is crowded. The house constantly needs attention. Mr. Thoreau, how do I carry with me the quietude of the forest?
Mr. Thoreau, I think I may be talking to the wrong person.
Jesus was constantly surrounded by people. They were always following him and grabbing for him. They were needy and insensitive. He had a great deal he wanted to accomplish in any given day. Did he get distracted? He was often side-tracked by the crowds. He was never able to spend four hours a day sauntering anywhere. And yet his “health and spirits” always seemed strong. Even in fatigue he never lost his temper; his compassion and vision for people never faded. He had the eyes and heart of God. He had an insatiable desire to spend time with his father. He pulled away. Even for a moment. Often times a moment was all he was afforded. Yet it was enough.
“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:15-16
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35
Jesus, teach me to pray. And let it be enough.