Sabbath rest? (21/8/11)
I was hoping to write a great post on the benefits of Sabbath rest after this holiday. My newly-refreshed, invigorated and restored post-beach self was going to be able to say, rest is good. For so many reasons. To have time to spend with husband and children, forging life-long memories without distraction of other tasks. To dial down, to turn the mind off of work, of ministry, of doing. To re-discover that place of solitude, of silence. To remind myself that making space to rest makes space to love and give to my husband and children, makes space to pray, to listen, to meditate, to rest.
After 3 days of spending most of my time in bed with chills, fever, headache and nausea, my post-beach self was honestly a littled p***ed off yesterday. That I hadn’t been able to eat crab at the beachfront grill, that I hadn’t been able to go on the catamaran with my daughter, or even been able to get into the grown-up pool once.
But that’s the thing about rest. We need it when we need it. And I guess my body needed me to rest while on holidays, in a different way than I was expecting.
I have this tendency to push things. If I have an unscheduled change of plans caused by some stupid virus, and my task list beckons, I will ignore the flu, cutting down my task list by 25% to allow myself a little space to recuperate, but I’m not going to take a full day of rest. I’m far too important for that. My kids and husband need me. The hospital needs me. The world needs me. What would the universe do if I didn’t show up?
Maybe there is something I can glean from this getting-sick-on-holiday thing. Not that it was “meant to happen this way”, but maybe I there can be some good from this – to have had time to recover from a pretty bad illness in the best way I could have, without feeling guilty about letting people down at the hospital, when my husband was rested enough to parent and play with our children without having to also prepare lectures, attend engineering meetings and drive 2 hours on a grocery run. Maybe this illness will be briefer because I have really been able to listen to my body rather than beat it into submission, as is my wont. And before I got sick, I still had a wonderful 3 days at the beach, snorkelling, on a glass bottomed boat watching the wonder of my children as their daddy swam below with the beautiful fish on a coral sea.
We are built for rhythm of work and rest, doing and being. The creation story in Genesis is a beautiful poem, a rhythmic dance – God seeing and creating, brush stroke by brush stroke, part by part, and on the final day, handing over his masterpiece of creation to someone else to manage and tend – and then, Shabbat. Rest. Cessation.
The God of creation knew how to hand his important tasks over to someone else – even though there was a pretty good chance we’d mess it up – and rest.
I’m pretty sure God, through the author(s) of Genesis, was trying to tell us something crucial there.
So tomorrow, I am going to call in sick to work. And the hospital will not fall apart. And next Monday, like every Monday, our family will take our weekly day of rest, and we will re-enter this rhythm of living here, in a way that helps to keep us alive, truly, fully alive, for as long as we need to be.
I’m sitting in bed with the laptop as I write this – we just got home a couple of hours ago. So I better sign off because I think the fever’s coming back. Maybe I should re-read this post…
Update 23/8 – the fever finally went away the next day, and I am now all recovered and close to hunky-dory. Thanks for the love and prayers!