On wading in: Day 8. Coming to rest.

It’s Sunday, which is sometimes conceptualized as a day of rest.  Those of you with small children may feel free to take a break while you laugh.

There.  Better?  Right.

At our house, Sunday is what we call a “whole family day,” which is much bally-hooed for its tendency to involve intricate train-track development sessions or reading marathons.  But it also tends to be a kind of painful day for us grown-ups, because it feels like our last chance to get things done.  So this morning is a good example: I’m running around trying to finish washing windows and start some other projects while Len entertains the beasts.  It’s not satisfying but it feels necessary.

So I got to thinking about “necessary.”  About my own capacity to over-do.  About the other kinds of satisfaction we need, besides clean windows.  (“Clean”: this is the first time they’ve had their outsides washed in eight years, and we maybe get to the insides every three or four years, so, well…there it is.)  My point is that I have a hard time prioritizing rest.

“Rest” itself is a kind of a squishy concept.  Sleep: sure.  Laying down with a good book: yes.  Watching an episode of something fun on Netflix: I can’t tell anymore.  I think that’s rest, but then it never makes me feel rested.   Going for a walk in the woods: yes, though for the opposite reasons.  It is not really rest but it makes me feel rested.  It rests my soul.

And perhaps that’s the crucial distinction these days.  Perhaps our bodies (or at least, at this point in time, my body) can handle a lot more than we think they can, and perhaps the kinds of rest we need are heart-rest.  Spirit-rest. For some people, that might mean church or some other kind of organized faith community; for some of us it might mean listening to the rain on the roof or sewing something or taking pictures of flowers your son brought in yesterday.

Any way you slice it, the hard part for me may not be resting per se.  It’s COMING TO rest.  I get to moving pretty fast, especially in the mornings, and especially when I have the bit between my teeth.  To know that I should rest, to schedule rest and plan for it and intend to take it: these are things I can do.  But to actually stop, to put down the sponge or the computer or whatever it is and intentionally CHOOSE rest: that’s hard.

So that’s my intention for today.  To honor the many forms of rest (including love and creativity and conversation with friends and making pie) and to choose them over the many forms of busyness.  To catch myself in the busyness and to gently let it go.

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