Joshua Harris

Finding Rest After the Debates and Josh Harris

What a week it’s been!

My daughter and her lovely new husband have been with us at fishcamp since early June. But they left a few days ago. (How I miss them!)

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*Joshua Harris, the 21 year old author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, who became a Christian media star launching a generation into “courtship” rather than dating—-has now kissed Christianity Goodbye. The now forty-something former pastor renounced his faith, making international news. We’re shaken. (Do we put too much faith in our Christian celebrities’ faith??)

*The democratic “debates”? I didn’t watch them because I live here in the wilderness, without TV (and often without internet!) But the pundits say the debate focused on personal sniping. The world is ablaze and we’re still launching insults instead of solutions?

*My edits on my next book have come back from my editor. I have a thousand little changes to make. I will be a slave to my screen again.

*And finally, in our annual summer measuring and marking on the doorframe, my teenage sons each grew an inch since last year. Naphtali posted a half inch gain (“it’s all the yoga,” she smiled.) I didn’t want to be measured, but everyone insisted: I shrank. I lost (another) half inch. (And I hate yoga.)

Sometimes it’s just all too much and you have to leave, escape. One night I grabbed a paddle and launched a kayak. And the next few nights, I went out fishing with my kids. (Would any of this make me taller? No, but it would make me happier. And it did.)

I found so many consolations:

*Tiny kelp crabs fell into our skiff. They’re ornamented in bonnets of kelp, which they fasten with their pincers, looping and hooking the ribbons on the tiny protrusions on their shell. Biologists tell us they’re dressing to hide, to camouflage, though I’m certain they’re fancying-up for Sunday dinner, or a night out on the town, (which, in this case, would be an hour in our skiff.)

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*I found five starfish on the beach. Which is nothing, but it’s five more than we had last summer. Two summers ago Kodiak Island was stricken with Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, (from warmer ocean temps). Our beaches, always festooned with hundreds of purple, orange, magenta sun and starfish were desolate of starfish. Wiped out, as they were along most of the US west coast. They’re recovering there——and maybe they’re returning here as well? I am hopeful.

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Everywhere I turned I saw loveliness. Rocks dressed in barnacles and bright wigs even on the dullest days.

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Mothers and fathers feeding their children.

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And then, in the kayak two nights ago, silently paddling, mother and babe.

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I am on these waters too with my beloved ones, (though we’re not nearly as cute).

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And then the skies whispering overhead as we glide back home.

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This is my Sabbath, out here, on these waters, on these shores. I know you need it too. When we turn off our screens, the unnatural world, and turn to the natural world—-we are not escaping or retreating. We are returning. And we are resting, even while we work.

When watching an otter, an eagle, a kelp crab, a sunset, I find rest. My tired ears hear again. I see again. The rocks shout out whose world this is. The moon, the sun testifies. The eagles know who feed them.

We are the only ones in all of creation who forget. We are the only ones who lose our faith. We are the only ones who “politic.” We are the only ones who never have enough.

SABBATH rest, Norman Wirzba tells us, is not about closing our eyes, taking a nap, retreating from the world. It’s about ending our restlessness, our discontent, the not-enough-ness that rules our lives and drives us sad, mad and frantic.

Stop. Declare a Sabbath. Go watch the sparrows, the spider outside your window, the otters. Hike the mountain behind your house. Walk softly on the beach.

All this has been given to us out of love.

Watch, listen, love it back. And you will find rest.

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Where is your favorite place to go to find rest, to find Sabbath?