‘Should’ is a dangerous word. It can entangle one through so many barbs and wayward leads.

I have so many blessings….so I shouldn’t feel like I am lacking, like I am empty somehow.

You have a lot going for you. You should feel grateful. 

You should smile more. Whatever is going on, you should just be able to let it go. 

I am surrounded by amazing people, I shouldn’t feel lonely. How is that fair?

We’re finally back to familiar. We should just move on. 

You should just stop thinking about it. If you stop, you’ll feel better.

….Sometimes knowing what you ‘should’ feel like is a weight heavier than you can imagine or be prepared to bear.
Noise can be loudest when it’s only a whisper.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you can hear more sharply when hushed tones are used? In this current culture we find ourselves in, one is rarely without cling and clatter. The bustle of life, shared every minute, from varying angles. The song of comparison between perspectives, stages of living, creating hierarchy in crevices that were never meant to be used as fodder for worth.

I took time away from some social media. I was in the midst of feeling pressed from every side, unsure the reasons or the results and something tangible needed to give, to change, to free up the staleness and allow me to breathe unpolluted air.
So I chose one small entity I had control over, and walked away for just a while. Just to recalibrate.

And it worked.
Day 1 and 2 were the jarred difference I found I desperately needed to experience.
The distraction and haze were no longer an option, so I found myself falling towards the quiet, the chair, the journal, the Word, the ears of Him who has been waiting patiently, every moment of my life, continually, for me to notice Him above all other colors, sounds, and shiny things.

During this choice of absence I was staying at a friend’s house, sitting for home and dog while they were away. The setting was just what my heart needed. Quiet. Solitude.
No further distractions to entice me away from what I truly needed:                  to stop               to listen            to speak

I am as this tree (which sits near the front yard of her house).
Bent. Askew. Trying to right itself back how it was meant to grow. Ever-arching towards its nourishment. The light that gives its color, its height, its age and promise of new days.

I walked towards her, this tree, one sunset. Determined to breathe in my favorite therapy – the scenes of nature. Of the symphony of a stirring world. Coming not from beeps, machines or systems, but from whirring wings and cricket calls and leaves shaking against one another in rustling harmony as wind joins chorus.
My soul finds rest in God alone.
I will not be shaken.
Though when I find myself shaking and shivering and wondering,
I will stop and sing and join the song of worship.
To how I am fashioned, built, strung together as an instrument. Carefully, intently.
And I will bend, but not break.
I will be hard pressed, but not crushed.
I will often be perplexed, yet never destroyed.
For I am in the hands of The I Am. From His hands. Remaining in His hands.                 At rest.

And I will stop agonizing over what I should feel, attend to, behave like. What face I should wear to steady the boat, not to rock it.
I will attend, instead, to what I am.                  I will listen to Who I should.            I will try to brave the speaking, the writing, the hearing.
And I will not have to beg for the audience of someone who loves me, for He begs for mine. He sought me. He pursues me still. He sees my bending and calls it beautiful. He waits. He rises and sets to show me glorious sights.

So I will stand.
Not because I should.
Because I can’t help but remain in One who always remains in me.

2 Comments on “The peril of "should", and the fruit of absence”

  1. Your words hit home Leigh. Envisaging to take time to be away too, much needed every once in a while.
    Thank you for your words and sharing it with us.
    God Bless!


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