Waiting For Loons
A Disquieted Soul Needs More Than Silence
by Eric Elkin
The other afternoon, I left work and drove north to spend a night in a cabin on a lake in northern Minnesota. It was a quick trip to visit children from our church at a camp. My destination was a friend’s cabin we frequently visit.
My heart was full of anticipation the whole drive up. I love cool summer nights and the smell of pine drifting through the woods. The middle of the week tends to be less busy than weekends. There would be little human interference to interrupt a quiet evening. Most of all, I was looking forward to the sound of loons singing over the waters.
When I arrived, everything was as I imagined. So I grabbed a book and a drink and rested in a chair to enjoy the setting sun.
It wasn’t long before my soul became disquieted. The evening was void of the sound of loons. An hour went by without hearing a single call. I went to bed troubled that there was a problem in the loon community.
All night long, not one loon call. When morning arrived, my mind was still unsettled by the absence of loons. Taking a cup of coffee, I sat on the deck to pray and write a devotion. The silence remained, and I had difficulty concentrating.
A bald eagle flew overhead followed by the panicked call of a loon sounding off a warning about the predator. Despite the distress it caused the loons, the sound made me feel at ease. Soon after several calls emerged out of the silence. My heart found peace. I had been watching, waiting and holding my breath for this to happen.
When I made my way over to the camp, I saw a hundred young people full of life. Their whole year had been spent watching and waiting for this one experience. They longed to be here growing in faith, life, and joy with friends. Summer camp was not a summer activity for them, but the fulfillment of mercy promised and received. Watching them filled my heart with joy.
Children who go to camp understand the need for sabbath moments with friends. Sabbath is not some short period of quiet. It is more than a time of rest. Sabbath involves community, reflection, prayer, and worship.
The disquieted soul needs meaningless time swinging in a hammock or playing a volleyball game. Sometimes the soul needs to sing for mail, wear a silly hat, and witness to the presence of God in your daily life. The restless soul also needs to acknowledge the desire to feel, see and taste mercy.
The song of the psalmist is a song we sing every day. We are watching, waiting, holding our breath for the mercy of God. We long for that chance to breathe it all in. Rarely do people understand, they are more often than not, the one standing in the way of the experience.
If you find yourself watching, waiting and holding your breath for mercy, try taking a sabbath with friends. You might find the peace you are looking to experience.
- What are you watching, waiting and holding your breath to experience?
- Who or what is standing in the way of the encounter?
- Where do you long to experience God’s mercy?
- What does "sabbath" mean to you?