In our county, kids have not seen a full week of school in over a month. From ice and snow to more snow and ice then fast forward to "Spring Break" - you could say life has been less than routine. I found myself getting irritated and short tempered. I could not figure out how "not doing anything" made me so tired (note the sarcasm, parents). I saw the posts on-line that begged for Calgon to take every stay-at-home and work-at-home and even work-outside-the-home parent to another time and place each time a school cancellation was announced. And yet, I truly wondered why I was so tired and what was it we all wanted to flee from during this break? Why did we have to be entertained? Why couldn't we just find rest? Why couldn't I rest?
It didn't make sense. The extras disappeared and we had a bit more forced space. Nature gave us a "time out" for rest and yet I was spinning my wheels rather than settling in to the space. I am a planner. So, it's quite likely if notice had been given, I would have been prepared and more mentally ready to rest. But it was not expected and I struggled. Why is it we struggle to settle in to the unplanned empty spaces in our lives? What seemed like a loss was really a gain. And, I did not take full advantage of that fact.
Now the rest transitions back to life and as I prepare to return to routine and all the commitments that accompany it, I found myself briefly getting anxious. Why? Let's be honest, the routine kicks in and the busy quickly follows - and busy is not pretty either.
Why are we so busy and why is there no in between? What is it we seek with what fills up our calendars? Why when those calendars are unexpectedly empty, do we feel lost? Are we addicted to busy?
I don't attend yoga class to make use of comfy pants. I don't attend worship to visit with my friends. I don't take my son to Scouts and basketball so his agenda is full. I don't schedule time to date my husband in order to seek out a good meal. I don't visit family or friends because I need or want something. I don't teach or plan retreats or lead or write or volunteer for recognition. So, why then? Why do I do the things that fill up my calendar? Why do you?
I've struggled with being vs. doing for much of my adult life. And thankfully, I hear permission from God that it does not have to be one or the other. We can be with God amidst our doing, we can find rest.
Here are some reminders for myself in this season, maybe for you too:
During likely one of the most challenging times in the life of Moses, God told him this, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." (Exodus 33:14, NIV)
Whitney R. Simpson
• author • yoga & meditation teacher • spiritual director • creating soul care resources for exploring the gift of God's peace with breath, body & spirit •
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Whitney R. Simpson,
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