1 : repose, sleep; specifically : a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities
I went away on a silent retreat last weekend. It was not what I had expected. In the past, these retreats have energized me. I've generally slept well, but have often found myself awake earlier than usual from excitement at the idea of spending the day in silence. Not this time. Friday night I went to sleep around 9:00 and slept until 7:45. Saturday, I was like a two year old: I took a morning nap, an afternoon nap and went to bed again around 9:00. I knew I was tired heading into this retreat, but I didn't know just how much my body and spirit were craving rest.
So instead of spending intense time with God, I rested. I walked the grounds.
I sat on a blanket by the pond.
I watched the geese - and wild turkeys and squirrels and butterflies and deer.
I marveled at how early spring has arrived and the way it's impossible to keep nature from asserting herself. Flowers pop up in unexpected places, just waiting to be seen and offer their little blessing.
This resting has continued, albeit in a less pastoral setting, in the days following the retreat. I had planned to join friends for dinner and a movie last night, but realized by midday that all I really wanted to do was have dinner with my family and read my current (very good) book. So I cooked an easy meal, sat with my family at the dinner table and then retired to the couch. My regular Tuesday bible study gathering was canceled for today, so I am claiming it for more rest. I hope to catch up on some writing, do some reading and take a nap.
Our culture does not encourage us to rest and I have struggled internally to accept that rest is what I need right now. As I was walking this morning, I was thinking about how God can heal us while we rest. That's true, but I also believe we don't always need an additional reason to rest. Sometimes it's just what we crave and where we need to go.
As spring arrives and summer looms on the horizon, I hope you will take time to rest in whatever form you need. If that translates to evening strolls with your partner, an extra cup of tea in the morning or a good book on the weekend, take it. Claim it as yours. Enjoy it. Soak it up. Leave refreshed.