Learning Balance

Posted in culture, family, ministry, Newsletters at 9:29 am

August. Sunshine, water, serenity, peace. It seems like throughout the years we have shared with you what a typical Italian August is like. At first the slow pace and the fact that everything was closed was difficult and quite a hard adjustment. We wanted to spend time with people, have outreaches, and surely they wouldn’t skip church…

But, with time, we really learned to appreciate this special summer month. It’s a month where people just “be.” Many, many people take at least a few weeks off work, if not the whole month. They go to the beach, they go to the mountains, they travel. But, mostly, August is for rest. It’s like a Sabbath month. We came to enjoy this sabbatical month to our year. I longed for the days when I would spend the morning in nature with the kids (Brian still had to work). Later we would come home for a simple lunch (no cooking, it was 100 degrees with no air conditioning) and a nap. Then, out for ice cream in the evening (partly because it was just so hot).

A wise friend of ours, when asked what would be the hardest part of the Rotert’s adjustment, said “the fast pace of the American lifestyle.” Boy, does he know us. And our culture. Not because Italians are lazy or that they don’t know how to get work done. It’s more that they know when it’s time to stop working. As a family that has lived in the US and Europe, we do see the difference. Americans do have trouble knowing when to stop working.
Here August is the end of summer. It’s get back‑to‑school month. It’s buy endless piles of school supplies month. It’s start back with school sports month. I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

But, guess what? We don’t have to enter the race. The only race that I have to be a part of is the one marked out for me in Hebrews 12:1. That’s my race. The other stuff can wait. I can snuggle on the couch with my kiddos and order school uniforms at the same time. I can “time” my errands and maximize the amount of time spent together with loved ones.

So, this is where we are. We’re back in the US and we are resisting as much as we can to dive immediately into the fast pace of life. This is what we’re working on. Sabbath. Rest. Being. I have a framed paper in my kitchen that says, “Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know. Be still. Be.” This is my challenge in our transition. And, this is my challenge for you. Be.

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