it was exactly ten years ago when i first came to vancouver to study at regent college.  i came to attend my first official day of school when i was met at the door with the chaos surrounding the news of the attacks on the world trade center in new york.  as i had just made new friends who were from the east coast, i immediately felt a connection to all that was happening and the surreal quickly became real as my friends could not reach their families back home and we had no idea if other cities were being targeted.

we did the only thing we could do.  we gathered in the chapel and sat.  we prayed, we shared, we sang, but mostly it was silent.  i learned a powerful lesson that day about the power of "sitting".  there are often times when there is nothing you can do but sit.

there's a great line in the movie "lars and the real girl" where a bunch of the neighborhood ladies come over to comfort the main character after he suffers a tragic loss.  they bring over casseroles and their knitting paraphernalia and take a seat in his living room.

Sally: We brought casseroles.
Lars: Thank you.
Lars: [Lars looks around the sewing circle. The three ladies are knitting and doing needlepoint] Um, is there something I should be doing right now?
Mrs. Gruner: No, dear. You eat.
Sally: We came over to sit.
Hazel: That's what people do when tragedy strikes.
Sally: They come over, and sit.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

flash forward exactly ten years.  we are just one month away from going on a three month sabbatical that may translate into a permanent move from vancouver.  my emotions and thoughts are conflicted as we are both excited for new opportunities but grieved at all we may be leaving behind.

i've been living in a place of gratitude and limbo for the past few weeks.  gratitude because i am actively in the process of thanking the many people who have invested in me, supported me and encouraged me during my seven years on staff and indeed for the entire time i've been in vancouver.  limbo because we are neither here nor there.  as a border-line "driven" person, without tasks and activity, i struggle with issues of purpose and identity.  without a clear sense of where we are going, i struggle with security and the wisdom of our decisions.

so i am once again learning the value of "sitting".  yes, there will be a time for action and busyness and we'll probably look back on this season of "sitting" with longing.  but for now, i think there is something good about receiving this gift of inactivity for what it is.

"be still and know that i am God" writes the psalmist in psalm 46:10.

"don't just do something, sit there" -- a sign that used to hang in the prayer room of an intern house i lived in a few years ago.

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