Monday, December 20, 2010

rest is harder than it looks

I took the weekend off. By "off" I mean that I did not do any school-related work. The term officially ended for me when I handed in my last assignment on Friday afternoon (small cheer!). I had dinner with friends on Friday night, and on Saturday, turned my attention to a much-neglected house, spending the better part of two days tidying and cleaning. Good fun the first day, really not a lot of fun the second day. I found myself becoming critical and short-tempered by the end of the weekend. Ugh! It wasn't simply the cleaning; it was the change of pace. Instead of papers and proposals to write, I had the opportunity to be attentive to people and take care of life's little responsibilities. It called on a whole different set of skills than schoolwork.

The transition from very busy student to relaxed person has been less than smooth, because I have a tendency to transfer my way of dealing with school to the rest of life - but life is not a project, people are not deadlines, and you don't get to cram for a friendship, have an intense few hours at it, and then walk away. Relationships are more about being able to rest in each other's company. And rest is something I seem to have to learn and re-learn. It is a precarious state, because I so easily fall into putting out effort, making something happen, planning an event, getting busy with the tasks to be done. Doing something makes me feel less guilty, more valuable as a person, and carries a sense of accomplishment with it. Good things, for the most part, but not really the essence of who I was made to be. I was made to be in relationship with others and this world in a vibrant way that tingles with life, energy, and love.

It is the difference between walking to get to a dentist appointment at a certain time (like I will be doing this afternoon) or walking with nowhere to be and no deadline; just walking because I love to walk and there is a world out there that loves to be explored! There are people to be enjoyed, windows to look out of, stories to be read, cats to be petted, food to be made, sunshine to be soaked up, gifts to be given and received, and long moments of silence to look and listen.

Teach me to rest, lean on, trust you again, God. In work and play, in joy and frustration, alone and with others. In every pace of life, let me be found at rest in your company.
This is a photo of water at rest, taken in Manitoba on Christmas day a few years ago.

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