My One Little Word for 2014 is intentional, and I’ve been thinking about how that relates to rest. My sweet friend Holly recently posted about this very topic, and her post left me thinking about being more intentional in my own rest, which can be difficult in a world where we’re driven to tackle every item on our lists and never slow down.
We’re on a quick little fall break from school—just two days, so a four–day weekend, essentially. Because I work part–time, I always have a few weekdays at home, but something feels different about this being a true break.
Purely psychological? Probably.
And it may have had something to do with taking my comprehensive exam this past Saturday morning. What’s that you ask, gentle reader? What was on this exam? British Literature since 1660. Yes, all of it. I know, right?
I’m not one to complain about schoolwork and tests—promise!—but it was nice to get that test out of the way and then have three days of, well, not this:
Saturday after the test was all college football. Sunday was a good mix of church, napping, starting a new book, and making my dad’s chili.
One of my favorite things about adulthood: getting to be friends with your parents. My dad and I share recipes and cooking tips, and it’s just fabulous. Maybe we’ll move on to photography skills next because, holy schmoly, do I need help.
And then Monday rolled around, and I was ready to tackle my fall break to do list, which was a good mix of blog– and housework–related tasks.
But I’d started that new book, remember? And it was already pretty good, and I was already kind of hooked.
So I did what any normal person would do and decided to read a chapter—one, single, solitary chapter, mind you—while I ate breakfast and drank my [wimpy decaf] pumpkin spice latte.
And then I justified reading two chapters, and then that chapter kind of had a cliff–hanger, so obviously three chapters were necessary, and then I was pretty much halfway through so it only made sense to read until I ate lunch, and that chapter involved a bit of a cliff–hanger, too . . .
Do you see where this is going? I knew you would.
I put the kettle on, and the whole afternoon was tea and reading. Reading for fun, not what I needed to know for my test.
And you know what? It was glorious.
It was rest. Real, intentional, restorative rest.
My EFM group met that evening, and that’s always refreshing. One member of my group described it as what makes her feel grounded and prepared for the week ahead, and I can’t think of a more accurate description.
But what was different this week was how focused I felt, how joyful and centered. While I look forward to these weekly seminars, I often arrive a bit harried after a fully–packed weekend and start to the work week.
Because I had rested, I felt fully present.
And today? Today has looked like a little bit of blogging and a whole lot of this:
I even found a prayer that underscores what I’ve learned. It’s written for someone who is sick, but I think there’s something in here for all of us, even if our sickness is simply dealing with everyday stress:
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring
forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I
am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still,
help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it
patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly.
Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit
of Jesus. Amen. (from the Book of Common Prayer)
Intentional, gallant resting. I like the sound of that.