When I came back from the Ligonier Conference on Saturday, my 11-year-old daughter told me that she had built five igloos since I left four days before. I looked out of the window and, sure enough, there they were, five small-ish igloos dotted around the backyard. “Igloo City” as she called it.
Having tried to build one last year with her, and therefore knowing how much hard work went into this, I congratulated her for her industry. After she excitedly told me about how she’d developed a better building technique than I had used, I asked her,”But why five? Why didn’t you just build one and maybe make it a bit bigger?”
“Well, when I finished the first one, I sat in it for a few seconds, and then thought, ‘I want to build another.’ The fun is in the building not in the sitting inside.”
A Life Parable
Isn’t that a parable for our lives? We spend our time striving and straining to build something, to grow something, to learn something, to develop something. But when we arrive, when we get there, when we graduate, when we publish, when we finish, we barely pause for more than a few seconds to thank God and enjoy our triumph before looking around for the next challenge, the next peak, the next target.
There’s something good and godly in that. It’s a blessing that God so made us and so ordered our world that we find can joy and satisfaction in hard and challenging work – whether it be physical work or knowledge work.
But there’s something flawed and faulty in this too. The inability to pause, to savor, to enjoy, to be at rest and at peace in what God has enabled us to do. Always questing for more, stretching further, aiming higher, trying harder.
Five Seconds On Top Of Everest
I’ve been reading Into Thin Air, an account of an expedition to Everest that went disastrously wrong. As part of the background to the story, the author explains the years of planning that go into any Everest ascent, then the 2-3 months of climbing, acclimatizing, and climbing some more, before finally enjoying about a minute or so at the top!
Yes, after all that, only a minute or two to savor it – partly because of the ferocious weather, and partly because of the line of people waiting for their few seconds at the top! Yet there’s no shortage of people willing to pay the $65,000 dollars for the trip. And some do it again and again. Years and years, tens of thousands of dollars, many painful agonies, and all for five seconds.
I want to spend more time savoring God’s grace in the mini-summits of life and less time climbing. I want to spend more time inside the igloo and less time shoveling snow.
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).