For the last few weeks, my kids have been going to school almost all of the days. Wahoo! This is big in our world. The first 2.5 months of school, we had at least one kid home every day... or at least part of the day. Needless to say, 5 kids, at school, all day.... HUGE!
It seems that in the past few weeks, we have collectively gotten over the shock and crisis of terminal cancer and have settled down into a new way of living.
Definitely not a stress free way of living but not quite so wound up and panicked either. The breaths are coming a wee bit slower and smoother. The tantrums are fewer and more easily managed.
So I find myself in a place that is almost unfamiliar. A place I haven't been in about a year. A place where my house is empty and I can actually work on something. For myself!
And I've got ideas. So many! Too many! It's my style.
I've got a business I started just before Covid came to town. I've got a book I started last January that needs more words. I've got house things...like painting and cleaning and organizing. I've got reading to catch up on. I've got a triathlon to train for. I've got cancer issues to advocate for. And I thought that just maybe, I'd start a non-profit.
And I'm working hard on holding myself back on the last one. But God has really put something on my heart and I'm trying to sort out what to do about it.
And you're going to laugh because it's super ironic in my life, but God is saying "Rest". (you may have noticed that my to-do list does not include that word)
But the thing is, it's not just me he's talking about. It's everyone. It's the worn out parents caring for their kids with mental health issues, it's the adult kids attending to the needs of their senior parents, it's the high school students who are working, studying, playing but completely stressed out by all of them. It's the employees who don't take vacation for fear their job will be gone when they get back. It's everyone.
But what I'm finding, is that rest is not as easy as you think it is. It's all fine and dandy to tell the stressed out mom to take time for self care but what does she do with her anxiety ridden daughter and the lack of funds in her bank account? Sure, she could do a bottle of cheap wine and a bubble bath. But life sure comes crashing back in when the daughter starts crying outside the bathroom door. It's really not good enough.
And I've been frustrated with this idea for a long time. I've been told for a long time to take time for self care. I've been told that if I fall apart, my kids won't have anyone. I've been told that I'm just as important than everyone else. I've been told so many reasons as to why I need to rest, and I don't disagree....BUT, it's waaaaay easier said than done. Because real rest needs more than just a bottle of cheap wine and stinky bubbles.
So I'm sitting with this idea of rest. I'm reading books and listening to podcasts. I'm being curious about what true rest can look like for all the above mentioned people and what are the practical needs surrounding that rest.
And while all these people can "take care of themselves" and be responsible for their own well being, the fact is, if you can't afford a journal to write down your thoughts or a babysitter for a date night with your spouse, or a pair of running shoes to get out jogging, you're not likely to see yourself in the category of "I deserve rest and care". Or, you may not have human resources to look after aging parents or small kids with special needs. Or you may not have the learning to know how to rest. Or the understanding of what true rest can look like.
I'm finding for myself, in a life with 5 boys and not a great income, true rest does not come easy. But I am also finding that the value of rest is high.
And I'm wondering if maybe we need to change our thinking around the whole idea of it. Gone are the days of Sabbath rest, when shops were closed and people were content with quiet or slow. Hmmmmm....
These are my thoughts and curiosities. This is where God is leading me deeper and deeper. Finding rest of the soul. Practically and spiritually.
So, I am learning how to rest. Especially when my body is physically tired. That's hard for me. But I would also like to teach people about rest... that's what God is putting in front of me. Not sure of format, big or very small. Likely I'll start with the 6 other people I live with. But I am excited about this gift. A gift of rest for myself and a gift of something to work on... which also falls under the true rest, soul care category.