So sometimes life up and says slow down. Tensions mount and tempers boil and anxiety takes center stage until the only solution is to come to a screeching halt and say enough already. It must be time to rest.
When we don’t follow a natural rhythm of work and rest our bodies and minds reach their breaking point. The rest will come, bidden or not. Eventually, enough really is enough.
Because when we priorotize doing over being, we lose something sacred. The sacred spiritual practice of rest. We miss out on the beauty of a quiet soul.
But sometimes it can be more than a little scary to slow down and sometimes the mind doesn’t get quiet when we do. Sometimes stress and noise serve the purpose of keeping pain at arms length, and the quiet brings thoughts and feelings we’d rather not face. And so we keep going, keep doing, keep the pace just quick enough to outrun the racing thoughts we can feel like a tingle down our backs.
Sometimes it’s just time to slow it down anyway. And what if its ok if the thoughts catch us? What if they engulf us like a wave, with all its power and strength, and carry us along for a little while? So what?
I remember being about six years old at the beach one bright summer day. The waves were coming in hard swirling around my toes and taking the sand with them as they slid back out to sea. I remember the sucking sound as I pulled my feet up and down again, marveling at that moving sand. The rhythm of the sea captivated me, lulled me as it crashed and flowed, rolled in and back out again.
I followed those waves as they took the sand back with them and eventually I was too far out. A larger wave came in and knocked me down and when it took the sand back out that time, it took me with it. My body rolled inside the wave, upside down and rightside up, never knowing which was which. I can close my eyes and feel the power of that wave as it overtook me. I can feel the force of it on my arms, my legs, my back- all at once pulling and pushing and turning me in every direction. There was no part of me that wasn’t under it’s control and I was headed wherever it was going. Pulled under deep and headed out deeper still.
Suddenly I felt something grip my ankle. I’d love to thank the man who swam out and caught me by the foot. The wave kept going, but I wasn’t going with it anymore. He held fast to me and though the force of that wave kept pulling my body with it, it couldn’t pull me out of his grip. His grip held and when the wave was gone, he turned me right side up again and put me back on sold ground.
I think of that stranger often and the strength of his grip against the pull of the sea. He gave me quite a gift that day.
When the waves of thoughts catch us, when they take us over and have their way–what if there’s nothing really to be afraid of because the healing is in the saving? The healing isn’t in the outrunning, out pacing, rush to avoid the pain waiting for us in the quiet. The healing isn’t even in the absence of pain. The healing is in the power of the grip that holds us as the wave does its worst.
Holy rest happens when He breathes comfort into pain. When we get quiet and the pain resurfaces, it’s an opportunity for God to give us the comfort we need to heal. And rest is just the soft space of recieving that comfort. Rest is learning to feel safe enough to feel.
His grip will hold.