After a crazy-busy week, enjoy this Flashback Post from 2016 while I step away and into my boat…
He told His disciples to have a boat ready for Him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush Him. Mark 3:9
We’ve all been there: that crazy line up of everything happening at once. For us, it was a two-and-a-half day span with a school concert, a spelling bee, karate, piano, band practice, a MOSAIC Kids event, a MOSAIC Moms group , a conference call, and Friday playdates. All that was just leading up to my husband’s Fun Run on Saturday morning at 7 a.m., at our home, where we fed a group of 30 runners a hot breakfast after their morning run.
During that whole time, I kept hearing the refrain in my head from an old television commercial about bubble bath. In it, the mom is run ragged with calamity after calamity. She turns to the camera and says, “Calgon, take me away.” It ends with her in a luxurious bubble bath, eyes closed, head laid back, and a look of true serenity on her face. You envied the fact that she found her peace, and you were willing to pay any price for a bottle of that Calgon.
Jesus knows that place we get to: that place where demand after demand is made of us. He knows what it’s like to have our kids, and all the other people in our lives, crowding around us, tugging on our sleeves for attention, pulling on our sense of obligation that makes us take on even more.
Once He began His public ministry, word spread like wildfire. He couldn’t enter a town without people flocking to Him in the hundreds and thousands, tugging on His robes to be healed, begging for His time and attention. Frequently, His compassion got the better of Him, and He would spread Himself thinner to meet the needs of the people.
But He did draw a hard line, a boundary that He had to maintain in order to keep doing what He was doing. That line, that boundary, was to protect His time for sleep, solitude, and prayer. Jesus was human like us, with the basic physical need for rest. He was also a spiritual being, well aware of the fact that the only way to refill His spiritual well was through prayer, time away from it all, in communion with God.
Being so popular, He had to be creative in how He met those needs. We read in the Gospels how He would sleep in the back of boats, get up early to go off and pray, and go off alone into the mountains, dessert, or gardens to be with God. In this passage, He’s asking His disciples to have a boat ready for Him so He can get some distance from the crowds, away from the crush of bodies wanting to pull at Him with their needs.
Although it’s to a much lesser degree, motherhood can feel like this sometimes. All the demands crowd around us, with our kids constantly pulling at us, figuratively and literally. We’re so mired down in the effort to meet their needs, we sometimes can’t tell where we end and they begin. We start losing ourselves, forgetting that we ever had a life before them. We’re so exhausted, we can’t even see the end of the tunnel, never mind the light there.
That’s when we need our own boat, our own escape route to get some distance from the crush of bodies, the crush of demands. We shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting and needing some space. Jesus role modeled this concept for a reason, because it’s a legitimate need. This Scripture passage is our life line, our permission slip. It tells us it’s okay, and extremely necessary to get some distance to refuel and rejuvenate.
Personally, I have a lot of boats in my life: Panera Cafe, my prayer space in my bedroom, and the recliner in my living room (with ear plugs in my ears). However, my goal is to get to that place where I have a boat in my mind.
In the midst of the chaos, when I can’t step away, I can step into it. I want it to be a simple, wooden row boat, one that I invite Jesus into, fully confident that He will calm whatever storm that is raging in my life. Like the woman in the Calgon commercial, I want to lay in my wooden boat in my mind, eyes closed, head back, as the boat gently sways, lulling me into a state of complete and utter peace.
Really enjoyed this today. I read it Fri morning after an unusual week. Thanks. Mary
Oh I’m thrilled you read and commented, Mary! Thank you! I too have had an “unusual week” and needed to press the “Easy Button” by reposting this from 2016. I’m glad it resonated with you – but am sending prayers for a weekend that brings you peace and rejuvenation, washing away any adverse effects of your unusual week. 🙂
How Jesus smiles on you, Claire, for reflecting with such clarity on His truly human frustration and need at times to get away from the crowds who practically smothered Him in their desperation for healing. Applying Jesus’ human need for renewal and rest from their endless demands to your own, you reflected on your experience as a wife and mother, having at times that overwhelming feeling of sinking under life’s immediate demands, demands that have a penchant for coming in bunches to drive you even crazier! But your enlightenment and practice of Jesus’ own solution, as you shared it, metaphorically sleeping in a boat, drifting peacefully down a river, praying regularly in your special prayer corner, or escaping at times in smaller ways you’ve shared, is a beautiful reminder to us all of how to deal with this ongoing challenge in our overly stressed out lives. That you have spelled out the solution so compellingly tells me you’re ahead of this game more than you know!
Thank you so much, Jackie, for your words of encouragement and support. After having spent lots of time in my boat this weekend in prayer and sleep, I’m happy to report that He has rejuvenated me! But it does seem that the pace of life requires me to keep that boat at the ready at all times. Here’s wishing you the peace of Jesus in your boat today, and every day!
I hope you ask and receive a retreat weekend away as a gift this season. I remember how I used to go to OUR LADY OF PEACE SPIRITUAL LIFE CENTER in Narragansett, RI when I was overwhelmed bringing up my four children. God bless you abundantly always. Lorraine
Thank you for that recommendation, Lorraine! I will definitely check that out! Blessings to you too!!!