Rest is both a pleasure and a necessity that many of us neglect in today’s hustle culture. We treat rest like it is something we must earn, rather than something that we require for health and happiness. Our bodies know better. If we push them too hard, they will demand rest whether it’s a convenient time or not. Better to be proactive!
Rest can be a source of joy, as well. As a hospital chaplain, I experienced the Covid-19 pandemic as some of the most exhausting and traumatic days of my life. On my days off, I still found myself isolated from others, fearing that I might have been exposed at work and not wanting to make anyone else sick.
Nature became my refuge. On a day off from the grim reality of the hospital, I took my dog to a local park and laid in the grass, letting the sun shine on my face and slowly warm my body. Birds sang. My dog cuddled close. Grass tickled my skin. I rested, letting my prayers of longing rise to God without any words at all.
I still had to return to the hospital to work; I still had to face the frightening reality of the pandemic and the grief that so many were feeling.
But when I lay in that grass in the sun, Christ met me there. “You do not have to fix any of it,” I could almost hear him saying to me. “You only have to be there.”
Where in your heart do you hear Christ calling you to rest? What might you need to let go of to take him up on that invitation?
Gentle Jesus, help me carry the burdens of my heart. And when it is time, show me how to put them down and let them go. Amen.
This post originally appeared in Reflections: Daily Devotional Guide volume 33.1.