Y’all, I’ve been busy. Like buuuuuuuuh-issss-eeee.
It has never been so apparent that I have spent the ten months before taking this job waiting for the phone to ring at a desk. My mornings, noons and nights have been jam packed. My muscles are pointing at each other saying “She hasn’t used me for a while, Has she used you? No?” A friend noted that she hadn’t seen anything from my blog in a few weeks, and I confirmed that it wasn’t a trick of Facebook choosing not to show her my posts, but in fact I hadn’t posted anything new in a long time.
Oh, I’ve started posts. You would not believe all the phenomenal expressions of the starts of ideas I’ve had the past 5 weeks, but before I can look back over things and hit post, I either run out of time or collapse asleep exhausted.
I have been doing and serving and helping and giving. I have done my honest best to do it with a good attitude and when I felt the stress level rising to walk myself into some private conversation with God, to seek out the counsel of a friend, or to sing and then sing louder.
But I have been living in anticipation of Tangier Island.
I am heading to Richmond with the kids today to join my parents and then rising before the sun tomorrow to head to the boat. A couple of days disconnected from the world, surrounded on all sides by rest and recovery? I can hardly wait!
It was with a body tired that I sent my mind to the ferry, checked out in the middle of the week. I have earned a break. So when it was suggested on Thursday that I help out the next day building the pergola at the Resting Place at the fair, I was very clear. I would NOT be doing that. I was all served out.
Friday I drove in to do the last little bit at work I needed to do and start my vacation ASAP with some time spent with a friend I had missed during my busy season. What better to recover my spirit that lunch with my friend Jen.
Jen and I are so alike that I best describe her to others saying, “She is like my brain outside of my body so I can talk to myself and not appear crazy.” Whatever it took I would be hanging with her today. Girls lunch out? Running errands? Help her settle into her new house? Whatever it took I would hang with her today.
I did my few things and then texted her.
Me: Hey! What are your plans today?
Jen: Helping set up the Resting Place at the fair.
Ha. Ha. Hardy har har. I get your point, Big Guy.
So, even though I’d adamantly refused to go do that the day before, laughing and assuring the people who suggested it that I’d see them Wednesday, I turned the wheel towards Rt 11 and showed up at the fairgrounds.
I wouldn’t say that I built a pergola yesterday. But I spent a few hours doing little tasks like spray painting buckets or holding a corner post of the pergola so the people who know what they’re doing could build it. And I did that with an interesting assortment of people. It was a few hours of laughter, joking, bouncing ideas around and arranging furniture.
I had to stop and smile when I remembered that last year I knew for some time before that I wouldn’t end up helping with this annual offering my church has at the fair, and sure enough, fair week rolled around and my appendix went phooey on me. This time I am headed out of town for the first half and unavailable for the second half, but it was nice getting to see what goes into preparing for rest.
I was sure a few days ago that should I agree to show up and do any physical labor before my trip, I’d end up even more tired, but as I pulled out of that parking lot I had that same feeling I had every time I volunteered last year. It was as if I’d gotten more out of the experience than I had given.
I said to another friend this week, “You have to choose to take time beside still water, or else you’ll sat down and that’s no fun. It says ‘He leadeth me beside the still water.’ Sometimes He has to trip us to force us to sit down and rest.”
I don’t know that my brain is put back together enough for a well written conclusion this morning. But can I encourage you to do something?
Don’t count out the idea of rest. Rest and recovery is every bit as important in our spiritual, mental and emotional lives as it is in our physical lives.
And secondly, don’t count out the idea that rest might be found in doing something. There was more relaxation in being helpful with good friends than I would have found on any couch. I have found little in life as restorative as doing good work that I don’t HAVE to do.
If you are at the Rockingham County Fair this week, stop out at The Resting Place and enjoy a moment of relaxation.
I’ll be thinking of and praying for the island of respite I’m missing at home while I’m sailing out to an island of respite in the Chesapeake Bay.