Rest

Rest is important, but rest is hard.

I’m coming off of a year with very little rest. Seriously, very little rest. We are talking about no more than 6 hours of sleep most nights, being with people from 7am to 12pm, taking classes and working and teaching. I was busy, but I was happy. I was also dreaming of rest.

Candles. Books. Finally enough sleep. Crafts. Friends. Rest.

I just graduated college. I’m home for a few weeks and I am sitting here amidst an abundance of rest. I’ve been reading and sleeping. I even started reupholstering a chair today (I’ve never done that before, but it sounded like a good idea and I have the time, so why not?). I’m doing anything and everything to fill my days with rest. But I am sitting here restless. I don’t like it.

Why do I feel the need to make my day busy with “restful” activities? Oh the irony.

Why is real rest so hard?

…Questions you ask yourself when you have the time.

Well I can tell you from my restful musings that rest is hard because we don’t really know how to do it. We live in a time that honors the busy, the achievers, the people who never waste a second of their day. I am a part of this. Side track for a second–I was in class a few months back and my professor said something along the lines of “I really am a better person when I’m busy.” That resonated with me. I truly do feel best when I am doing, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, especially if there is purpose in what we are doing (this makes me want to go into a whole other conversation on purpose, but I’ll save that for another day).

All of this being said, my point is this. While there is purpose in what we do, we must also realize that there is purpose in the rest that comes after doing. Sure, it’s easy to see the results of our doing, but rest is where some of the greatest changes can occur.

Times of rest are when we get the chance to reflect–to look deep into ourselves, to dive into beliefs, to dream, to reevaluate and work through things that we don’t like. Of course, reflection is rarely comfortable. It’s much easier to stay busy, to avoid thinking because thinking can be scary.

But it’s good.

Rest is what keeps priorities in check; busy schedules rarely do that. Rest has purpose and it also teaches us about our purpose. If we feel purposeless in the season of waiting, what then are we drawing our sense of purpose from? Things to think about.

So “embrace the rest” I say to my antsy, impatient, restless self. The rest I take now can only prepare me better for the joyfully busy seasons to come. The rest of now can only help me to see purpose in all the seasons.

 

 

Repeat.

Wake up. Make coffee. Dress nice. Out the door. Drive to school. Teach some things. Home and friends. Lesson plans. Late to bed.

Repeat.

Weekend. Sleep some more. Friends. Rest. Breathe. Goes too quick.

Repeat. Repeat again.

How easy it is to get caught up in the busy, the obligations, the stress. How easy it is to go on autopilot. How easy it is to miss the little moments that really do matter so much. How easy it is to get stuck on repeat and lose passion and purpose that are so important.

This is my fifth full week of being a full time teacher (my seventh if we are counting the weeks that were broken up by seminars and spring break). I have slowly slipped into the cycle of repeat–each day is part of the checklist, each lesson something to get through, each sassy teenage comment another annoyance, each activity a responsibility. I wait for the weekend when I get to breathe a little and sleep a little and then I repeat.

Today didn’t go so well. When I walked into first period and prepared to greet my students, I found myself stalling for a few extra minutes just to not have to start the lesson. I lacked the passion that I had when I first started; the desire to give fun lessons that made language more than grammar; the hope to impact lives. It showed…I felt it and I bet my students did too. They definitely acted like it. I mean, if I’m standing in front of them bored they’re definitely going to be bored too. By the end of the day, I new something needed to change.

As soon as my last class ended, I went to the open door, took off my shoes, stepped on the grass, picked a flower, and took a deep breath. No more repeat.

Friends. It’s so important to break the pattern of repeat. It steals our joy and passion and we lose every opportunity to truly invest in the moment. We lose the chance to make our community, our lives better. We get tired and we completely lose track of our purpose. Instead, we need to be present in the moment we are living. Even more than that, we need to take time in our day and we need to appreciate the small things. Pick the flower. Look at the ladybug. Smile at the clouds.

Yes. The responsibilities remain, but that doesn’t mean they have to rule you.

For the record, soon after picking the flower one of the teachers said “You look so comfortable right now, but think about all the kids that spit on the grass out there!” I came inside and started lesson planning, but my heart was a little more joyful. Then, I went home, grabbed some good cold brew and a blanket, and sat in the sun for hours. I rested and I enjoyed the warmth and thought about how lucky I am for the life that I live. I thought about all the beauty around me. I broke the cycle of daily tasks.

No more repeat.