Tag Archives: rest

Linger

Sit by the water’s edge

and rest.

Linger here,

without worry or hurry.

Feel the breeze that

brings life,

swirling around,

wild and untamed one minute,

gentle and caressing the next.

Listen for that little voice,

that tiny whisper,

inviting you to

immerse yourself in the silence surrounding you,

to dip into the quiet and

let it speak hope to your heart.

Rest

Getting away to the lake,

watching the sun rise and set

over calm water,

walking along the shore,

collecting stones.

Three ducklings entertain us as they stray and

then return at their mother’s call.

Dark clouds gather along the horizon and

the winds pick up.

We watch as the rain approaches.

There is nothing to be done but watch and

wait for the sun to return.

It is good to be here, resting.

Tips for a relaxing staycation

I am taking a staycation—my first real vacation in almost two years. There are many positive aspects to staying home, but one fear I have is that the many projects around the house begging for my attention will take up all my time and I will be as tired at the end as I am at the beginning. So instead of following my own inclinations, I am going to try to follow the schedule of someone whose life is an extended staycation—my dog, Detroit.

DSCN1617

Dogs seem to have a handle on how to live a good life. Detroit’s days are made up of five main activities: food, exercise, sleep, work and play.

Food. I think Detroit loves food more than anything else. My sister says I feed Detroit too often, which may be true, but I am a grazer, and so it makes sense that my dog would be a grazer, too. In between meals, Detroit likes lots of little treats—me, too.

Exercise. Every morning we go for a long walk, and Detroit checks out her surroundings, greets neighborhood dogs, leaves little messages for dogs who will come along later, stalks squirrels until they run up trees and generally enjoys the fresh air. Although I impose this walk on her, Detroit seems to enjoy it. For me, though this walk is more stroll than exercise, so on my staycation, I plan to take extra walks and maybe even ride my bike.

Sleep. When we get back from our morning walk, Detroit stretches out on my lap and within a few seconds, her body is totally limp and she is sound asleep. I will follow her lead and take a nap.

Work. Waking up refreshed, Detroit gets to work. Her job is to patrol the backyard, keeping it free of squirrels, rabbits, cats and birds. It is an important job, and she can spend an hour or so clearing out all the undesirables.

detroit in yard

 

She also likes to take some time to sit and admire her work. IMG_3513

After a nap, I will tackle some house project. The list is long, and I will alternate between chores that are more and less enjoyable. More enjoyable projects for me include working in the yard, sewing and painting furniture; less enjoyable ones include washing windows, cleaning out the freezer and dusting. After work, it is time for another nap.

Play. Every day includes at least one extended play time when Detroit will get a toy and bring it to me for a game of tug-of-war or some fetching.

Detroit running

During my staycation, I plan to spend more time writing, praying and studying Polish. My play time will also include reading, gardening and perhaps exploring some nearby towns to poke around in shops or maybe go to a museum or two.

I figure if I pace myself and adhere to Detroit’s schedule, my staycation will be somewhat productive but much more restful and relaxing.

I will give you rest from your enemies.

“I will give you rest from all your enemies.” 2 Samuel 7

Who are my enemies? I gained insight into the answer to this question when I lived in l’Arche.

Life in l’Arche was very intense, being with the same people twenty-four hours a day. Even most married couples get breaks from one another when they go to work or pursue individual interests. In l’Arche, there was very little time or space to be away from the others; we were almost always together. And that created many opportunities for my buttons to get pushed.

When I lived in l’Arche, I used to say that I met myself every day—and it was ugly. Every day I was meeting the parts of myself that were wounded, broken, unhealed. And those broken places were my real enemies.

They kept me unfree. They were my insecurities, old hurts and fears.

Every time I acted out of some broken place, my enemy was in charge, making decisions, saying hurtful things, being selfish.

It was exhausting. I felt like I was under siege and the enemy was within, so I could hardly escape it. At some point, I realized that the only way out was through.

With God’s help, I was able to begin to face my old hurts and open wounds, taking them on one at a time. Eventually, I realized that what looked like my enemy was really my friend and that befriending my old wounds was the way to become free of them. Just that realization—without having done any befriending—was a great relief.

Over time, I came to accept my old hurts as the gifts they really were. I came the see them as opportunities for me to grow stronger, more compassionate and forgiving, more accepting of myself and others.

I won’t say that I finished the work of befriending my inner enemies. They are still with me and probably will be until the day I die.

When Jim was preparing to die and reviewing his life to see where he still needed inner healing, I remember one day when he was struggling to make peace with an old hurt and it became clear that he was not going to be able to let this one go. It was an “aha” moment for me—“Now I understand why someone came up with the idea of purgatory,” I said. “I guess we all take something unresolved with us when we go to God.” He breathed a sigh of relief: “I’ll take this one,” he said, and then moved on to process something else.

I think the rest God offers from my enemies comes from accepting, letting go and moving on.

At Rest

Before I left Pennsylvania, I toyed with the idea of leaving Detroit behind until I was settled. I feared too many moves for her and the tension I anticipated for me with starting a new job and finding a new house. But, my friend Lillian, who was also Detroit’s sitter, suggested that Detroit would make the transition well enough, as long as she was with me. Lillian is a dog person, and so I trusted her judgment; I brought Detroit along.

Every morning, I spend some time in prayer. Detroit joins me on the rocking chair, stretching out along my lap. Eventually, she falls asleep. Her fifteen pounds feels heavier as every muscle in her body relaxes and she melts into me. She is at home with me, resting peacefully.

She reminds me of Lent last year, when my spiritual director had a basket full of slips of paper. Each slip posed a question. Mine was, “Will you rest your weariness on me?” I have often thought of that question—through the time of Jim’s last days and the days and weeks after his death. Then through my move from Pennsylvania to Michigan. Weariness has been my friend more often than not over the past two years. But, would I rest in God? Could I rest in God?

As I watch Detroit so at peace with me, so at home with me, I know this is the kind of leaning into God that I am invited to. To trust God so deeply that I can totally relax and be home with God and at peace. The invitation still stands and God keeps asking me, “Will you rest your weariness on me?” I am working on it.