A few days ago, I had one of those days. You know, the kind where your kids wake up and the mere sound of their breathing is making you feel like you might explode like a volcano. I mean, a simple request for more blueberries could send you right over the precipice of fury. It was not one of my best moments. So my wise and kind husband suggested that maybe I should go out and have some time to myself for a bit. I began to protest, and I had a handful of legitimate reasons, but he wouldn’t hear any of them, the turd. He sent me out as Willa screamed and threw a giant tantrum over the fact that I was leaving, assuring me with a smile that I should just get lost as soon as possible. As soon as I drove away into the sunshine I knew he was right. Ok, fine. I guess I knew it the second I gave in and started throwing my rats nest hair in a pony tail, but I hate to admit it. Because when he suggests kindly that I go have some time to myself, what I actually hear is more like, “You are acting like an irrational brat and maybe instead of terrorizing all of us, you should get as far away from us as possible.” I’m sure there’s a little truth to that, but mostly it’s just because he is a genius, and can see right through my crabbiness to my need for solitude and rest. And because he is kind and generous, he tries to meet that need.
I drove to a lake near our house, carried my books and journal out to the dock, slipped off my shoes, and immediately began to feel like a human being again, instead of a rabid dog. I took out my book, but instead of starting right in, I took a moment to just sit. Water has always been therapeutic for me, and just watching the ripples roll across the glass lake took my blood pressure down about 300 notches.
As I sat quietly, I spotted a little quintet of ducks swiftly swimming across the middle of the lake. It’s baffling how they seemed to move smoothly, seamlessly, and yet herky-jerky at the same time. They bobbed their little heads back and forth, squawking at each other and clearly gossiping. I could instantly tell they were the beauty shop crowd moseying on over to the diner, or to Lula Mae’s back patio for lunch. It was quite entertaining to watch them move along in their little group, chattering loudly, completely unaware of anything else out there in the big, busy world. They are free. And happy.
I suppose if a duck can be easily happy, I can too. It became apparent in that moment that these ducks came to be my teachers today. I need a lesson in not taking life so seriously, in getting lost sometimes in the moment and the company in which I presently find myself. I need to turn off my brain for a moment and just be. Inhale. Exhale. Receive the beauty around me as the gift it is, and allow it to restore my soul.
Practicing Sabbath is very much a part of the restoration of all things. There is no RESToration without REST, after all. We are all a little broken. To be restored to our intended glory, we must give ourselves rest, and no one will do that for us.
Of course sometimes others make it possible: they play with our kids for awhile or they trade a shift at work, but we have to be the ones to actually do it. No one can rest in our place—we can’t delegate that. If we don’t learn to initiate and practice rest, we will never find healing for our souls.
If your heart is hurting or your insides don’t feel right today, take a break. Even if it’s 10 or 20 minutes. Go outside. Feel the sunshine. Read a book. Like, an ACTUAL book. Not an article or a blog (seriously, you can quit reading this now and walk away.) There’s something about words on a page that you can touch and turn that rejuvenate like nothing else can. Don’t make excuses—I see you there, starting into your “But…” STOP IT. The laundry and the emails and the dishes and the invoices and the demands and the projects can all wait. Go and get some rest and quiet today. Your soul will thank you.