Hello, Merry Mystics!
I’ve been participating in an online Lenten retreat at the Abbey of the Arts. This week, there was a beautiful song called “You Can Rest Now” by Trish Bruxvoort Colligan, with a lovely interpretive dance by Betsey Beckman (from her “Monk in the World” series). It got me thinking about rest.
Now, maybe I shouldn’t be writing to you about this subject, because when it comes to rest, I suck. I usually take Mondays away from my job at the church, but I have a long to-do list at home. On Monday last week, however, the first thing on the list was going to Peoria to see a specialist about the arthritis in my hands. He gave me some injections, which made my hands feel even worse, temporarily: tender and achy. So when I got home, I thought, “Well, I should train—but I can’t, because of my hands. I should lift weights—but I can’t, because of my hands. I should practice the piano—but I can’t, because of my hands. I should fix the hot-water intake on the washing machine—but I can’t, because of my hands. I should do some writing—but I can’t, because of my hands.” Finally, I just got myself a glass of port, and sat in a chair, and read a fun book. The cat came and sat in my lap, and I petted her, gently. And that was the rest of my day.
Now I’m ashamed to tell you that story—ashamed to admit that I needed to be temporarily disabled in order to justify really resting for half a day. But: do as I say, not as I do! Don’t be like me—and if you’ll do that, I try not to be so much like me either. To help me turn over a new leaf, I wrote this hymn about rest, sending myself the message I need to hear.
I claim this calm and quiet space
and snuggle, sure in your embrace,
beneath your warming sun.
In gratitude I let me rest,
as you did on the day you blessed,
when all your work was done.
It’s not because I’ve earned a break
by all the rest I never take,
or all that I achieve.
It’s just a gift God gives to me,
which I must never claim to be
too busy to receive.
God loves us when we run our race,
and make the world a better place,
and triumph in the test.
But love can never be reduced
to things achieved or goods produced:
God loves the soul at rest.
Like bee beneath the cowslip’s bell,
like otter on the ocean’s swell,
like robin in the nest,
like baby taking peaceful nap,
like cat asleep in sunny lap,
I too may take my rest.
As always, sheet music for this hymn is available in our Free Stuff area.
My Ladies Bible Study on Exodus has talked about rest recently. God rested, and told us to do the same. But it is very hard to do so. It seems we need a specific task to rest: Bible reading time as rest; watching TV or playing a board game as a family as rest, or; actually taking a nap as rest. Our ladies are praying about rest and will share our ideas soon. Thanks for the song.
“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” [Mark 2:27]
That’s probably one of Jesus’ teachings that surprised everyone in that time and every time… Surely God did not intend a day of NOT doing things?