Sometimes we need a day given to idleness, a day to rest and daydream in wise passiveness. That’s what this day has been for me. PJ took the kids to the pool this morning, and I have spent the past couple of hours sitting here in my comfy pyjamas, drinking coffee, reading beautiful poetry aloud, and listening to quiet classical music. I can almost feel my spirit within me unfolding, stretching, breathing, and growing stronger.

The title of this post comes from a Wordsworth poem written for his sister. He urges her thus:

Then come, my Sister! come, I pray,
With speed put on your woodland dress;
And bring no book: for this one day
We’ll give to idleness.

from “To My Sister” by William Wordsworth

I don’t have a “woodland dress” and I’ll admit that books are playing a central role in my day of idleness, a devotional poetry book being one of them. Today it included Romans 8:38, a verse I’ve read hundreds of times. But something about the translation it used (and I don’t even know which Bible version it’s from) really spoke to me:

Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away.

Romans 8:38

We all have our moments when the now of our lives scares us or the future seems clouded and full of reasons to worry. Or how about seasons of life when it seems the devil just wants to bring you down. Have you ever felt like that? And you wonder, ‘What could he possibly have against little old me, living my uninteresting, un-impactful life over here in this dark corner? Why are the powers of hell out to get me?’ But what a beautiful reminder this morning that none of that can keep God’s love away!

I’m sitting here looking out the window at what is usually a breathtaking view. But today there is no view, unless bare twigs against a backdrop of thick fog counts! I can’t see beyond the edge of the yard. I can’t see the valley with its frozen lake. I can’t see the tiers of evergreen-carpeted mountains stretching out on the other side of the valley. I can’t even see the sky or the clouds above it all. Today I’m IN the cloud. I can’t see anything, but I know it’s all there. It’s a beautiful reminder that even in those “cloudy” times when life feels obscure and there’s no clear vision for the future, God’s love is there. Nothing can keep it away from us. His love is stronger than anything that strives to take us down, and it can reach us regardless of what tries to isolate us or steal our vision and our joy!

These are the lessons that my idle moments are teaching me this morning. So I’m not sure I could really call them idle.

While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills…

from “Lines, composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey” by William Wordsworth

For six years our family has been coming “among these hills” to vacation in New Hampshire. A lot has changed in those six years, and I can relate to feeling different from what I was when we first started coming here. My “present pleasure” today is this reminder of God’s all-conquering love. And in it, I sense a lasting blessing too, “life and food for future years”…no matter how obscure that future may seem at times.

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