The tree nursery often lays off their crew for a month or so in early October, and again just before Christmas until the "big sow" starts up in February. When I mention to people that I've been off work they'll often say how they wish they had that same free time to "get things done."
I felt that way too. At first.
I enjoyed sleeping in, showering late, cooking for my wife, reading and watching movies, getting the groceries, practicing drum patterns, all of that. Yet now that I look back on the time it's easy to see how I could have made more out of it. Don't get me wrong: I did a lot! I finished editing my undergrad thesis--something I'd been meaning to do for months! But do I feel rested now that I'm at the other end of the time? In some ways, yes. In others, not really.
Simply having 'no-work' space doesn't automatically make it a space of rest. We have to choose to holiday. So often that time of vacation isn't so much about doing nothing as it is about taking the time to rejuvenate. Rejuvenation comes not from the absence of activity, but from choosing to engage in activities that will restore us.
What are those restorative activities and how can we carve out time to make them a regular part of our lives?
o o o
Thinking about that question triggered another thought. How can we keep ourselves from thinking only about our rejuvenation? I mean, we need to take care of ourselves and make healthy choices. But we also need to help each other. I was reminded of this in a video clip of Rod Wilson, president of Regent College and professor of psychology and counselling. He's discussing how we tend to gravitate toward one of those two extremes--thinking only of self and only of others--and how we need a healthy balance.
Given the danger of those two sides: the danger of falling off the side of self-preoccupied, and the danger of falling off the other side--of not even engaging oneself at all--how then spiritually do I function? Now this is where humility comes in. . . . Humility is not just about Rod's view of Rod, but about Rod's view of Ross and how I conceptualize serving Ross in what I'm doing. . . Humility is not about my view of myself, it's a way of understanding myself with reference to service.
It's not about me.
So how can we, first, understand this need we have to rejuvenate and take the time to do so regularly for our own health and development; and secondly, how can we seek to foster restorative moments for those around us?
Dare to rejuvenate. Find that space in your day where you could be doing something that will bring you rest. Go for a walk, phone an old friend, paint, sing, write, make something, do that thing which you know can restore you--that which makes life's troubles grows smaller (not forgotten, but put in perspective). Then, having done that, turn around and help someone else to do the same. We're all in this together!
Be well this weekend,