wings like a dove
August 31, 2015
[An eternity ago], when I was on an undergraduate mission trip, I stumbled upon a verse in Psalms that struck me: it seemed out of place in my normal realm of Bible-Study-leader genre of readings, and was intensely comforting. “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” (Ps. 55:6, NIV). I repeated this verse to myself, like it was a favorite song refrain. Wow, I thought . . . a spiritual giant like King David would admit, out loud to God, no less, to wanting to get away from it all? If so, surely there is hope for me, secretly wishing I could just run away . . . just be “at rest”!
Eventually I grew up from that rough patch of life and moved on with a slightly more balanced, but still outwardly active life. In more recent years, I have found my struggles to be less in the realm of depression and more in the realm of overwhelmed stress. I bring it upon myself, oftentimes, filling my schedule to the point of breakneck speed. Thankfully, I now have a husband who calls me out about this, challenging my adrenaline-addiction and, sweetly, giving me permission to have human limits.
Last night I opened to my usual Bible app right before bed. Generally I open up the verse of the day and then expand it so as to read the chapter in its entirety. Without fail, I find some applicable comfort for the particular day when I do so. Last night I opened up to read “Les paroles de sa bouche sont plus douces que le beurre, mais la guerre est dans son cœur; ses paroles sont plus onctueuses que l’huile, mais ce sont des épées nues.” (Ps 55:21 OST) For those of you who don’t tend to read a French version, this would be “His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords. (NIV).
Humph. I grunted my displeasure at such an unsatisfying evening read. But I continued my routine of opening up the rest of the chapter. I was fidgety and distracted, and almost didn’t notice that there, in this chapter, was that verse I had loved so much, so many years ago. But the strange thing about it was the meaning was different. Or, at least, the way I translated the connotation was—and in a way that struck me just as powerfully. I know, intellectually, that verses have a different meaning at different seasons and stages of life; but I think this is the first time that has hit home with such reality for me. This time I read, “Et j’ai dit: Oh! qui me donnera les ailes de la colombe? Je m’envolerais, et j’irais me poser ailleurs.” and mused on the fact that to “poser ailleurs” does not mean to just fly away and be at rest. Rather, it is placing oneself in another place. So now, having wings like a dove gives the ability to lift oneself up from a current setting and get to another one.
Beautiful, I breathed. So now, as I get weary with the daily tasks of life, my comfort is a more active one. The truth is that I get deep satisfaction from being engaged in tasks that make me feel “needed,” and that keep me busy with meaningful work. Why not, then, have a relief from weariness be a more fulfilling role, as opposed to just getting away from it? And yes, tonight as I switched from homework-finished queries to lunch-packing for a preteen, I realized that the household tasks were somehow refueling me for another day of teaching . . . though in the middle of classes today I had wondered at my ability to manage the day’s worth of duties and roles. When it comes down to it, I guess, the act of moving from just one task to the next one is, at times, the most realistic way of tackling a mountain of said tasks.
*I snapped this photo during children’s church yesterday. Somehow, the image of little ones gleefully eating cake just seemed fitting for this post :-)