Saturday, 22 April 2017

Take Your Seat by Emily Owen

I recently spent a couple of weeks with my right hand in a bandage.  Following surgery, my hand needed to stay protected and immobile while it healed. It goes without saying that I am right-handed. My left hand valiantly tried to learn to do all the things it never has to do by itself, such as wield a toothbrush (a surprisingly difficult thing to do with a non-dominant hand) or fasten buttons.

And, due to the impeccable thing called ‘timing’, I had a manuscript that needed to be checked.  As I laboriously and left-handedly looked up reference after reference in my bible (I prefer books with pages made of paper), I did ask myself on more than one occasion whether it had been necessary to include so many verses in my manuscript.

The manuscript is not overly long but it took the best part of two days to check.  I can’t tell you how many bible references I checked but definitely more than five.  I know this because I had five fingers to count on…

At the beginning of the two days, I was incredibly frustrated.  Things were taking so long.  As I settled into a new rhythm and pace, somewhere along the line I realised my frustration had disappeared.  I also realised I was actually enjoying being forced to slow down. Forced to be patient. Forced to sit and wait as my left hand fumbled with pages. It gave me time to reflect more on what I was doing. Time to just be.

Recently, I was on a train and I saw this sign:

‘Take your seat before the train arrives.’

In my experience, most people on a train do not take their seat as the train pulls into the station.  They (and I) stand up to gather luggage, put on coats, start towards the door; all the while in front of a sign advising them to sit down.

One of the passages my left-hand looked up was psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul….

It seems to me that this, unlike what happened with the train sign, is not a psalm to be noticed and ignored.
It's a ‘take your seat before the train arrives’ psalm.

Or maybe ‘take your seat before the manuscript deadline arrives’.

Or maybe ‘take your seat before getting more and more annoyed as you stare at a blank screen for hours, waiting for inspiration’.

Or maybe ‘take your seat before facing whatever it might be’.

Or even ‘take your seat for two seconds as you dash from A to B’.

Take time to stop, to pray, to reflect, to be refreshed…so that you make it. 

You arrive. 

Or, to put it a bandage-related way, you ‘wind up at’ (!) wherever your Shepherd leads you.


  1. Thanks, Emily. We need space and time to rest.I sat down briefly on a bench near a harbour yesterday. When I told someone where I had been I totally forgot that part of my walk! Sue

    1. What a great example! Yes, you are right, we forget to focus on rest.