Choosing to rest and be present
Chaos defined the end of the year for my family. We ended 2019 with a bang, and not necessarily the good kind.
I took my son to a walk-in clinic the Sunday before Christmas. Diagnoses: Flu. On Christmas Eve night, my daughter starts running a fever. She then wakes up Christmas morning to a fever of 104.
Yup, we ended the new year with a bang. Top that with a little helping of extra stress from being with family, partly self-imposed, to driving home on Christmas Day in a car with, not one, but two sick children, for 10.5 hours.
Not to be overly dramatic, as kids are actually kind of sweet when they are sick, and siblings do not have the energy to fight. Plus sleeping sick children made for a world record in travel time for us. 10.5 hours is actually what it should take if you do not have to stop a bazillion times. On the long journey to my parents for the holidays, it usually takes us about twelve hours. One time it took fourteen, though I cannot remember why on Earth it took that long!
Fast forward to Friday after Christmas….. and now my husband has the flu. (Oh, yeah, my daughter had the flu confirmed as well)
Oh, you dreaded flu! How I loathe you! My hatred soon turned into vengeance that was imposed upon my house with Lysol, laundry sanitizing, excessive handwashing, and self-imposed quarantining. I will not rock the boat yet, but I may have escaped… for now.
It gets worse.
Fast forward another few days, and I discover my daughter has lice….. Oh yes, life…is…grand…..
As my family are lice evicting virgins, I once again exacted revenge, this time upon my poor daughter’s scalp and stuffed animals and bedding… and routine checks for the rest of us.
Again, I will not rock the boat too much here, as all these pesky little buggers are extremely difficult to get rid of.
In comparison, as of right now I would have to say our infestation of fleas several years back was much worse. At least with the lice bugs, they are contained to the scalp, and not biting my poor kids’ legs, and requiring daily vacuuming for a month or more. (Though, on the bright side my house had never been cleaner).
Is your scalp itching yet? Rest assured, the lice can’t jump from your computer screen!
Ahh, life. You never know what it will throw at you or try to drown you with.
A quiet place:
So all these factors considered (actually before the lice), my dear sweet husband, upon coming out of the flu cloud, graciously encouraged me to find a quiet place away from my house to read and drink some delicious coffee. I happily obliged. Thank you Wired Coffee Bar! My first experience at this local establishment was well rated and much needed.
As I was enjoying my latte and the book, Choosing Real, by Bekah Jane Pogue, I ironically opened to a chapter on rest and what that really means.
Friends, hear this: Rest is not selfish; it is essential. It is biblical.Bekah Jane Pogue, Choosing Real
Bekah also quotes the following author:
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.John Lubbock, The Use of Life
And oh was I needing rest. So thankful for the enlightenment of the book and for recognizing the signs of my increasing irritability with recovering sick kids. (Who now, by the way, have the energy to fight and incessantly annoy each other. Sibling rivalry anyone else? Please tell me I am not the only one!
I was gently reminded of rest. Rest, what is rest?
While at times it may literally mean “to nap”, it can also mean to take time to relax and do nothing, but just be.
If it’s rest we need to live fully, it’s the minutes we must enjoy, for those are when God shows up.Bekah Jane Pogue, Choosing Real
As women, we too often push our own needs aside and “selflessly” serve others. But is it truly selfless if we are resentful and bitter and snapping? Is that really how we want to serve and be known?
An example of rest:
As children, we would spend the holidays at my late grandmother’s house. After slaving over meals, she would then clean up after the meals. We were often told to go and help. While I was resentful, I never heard a complaint from my grandmother. Then after everything was put away and clean, she would sit and we would play Dominos and Go Fish, and then revel in the scrumptious desserts.
She was a woman who knew how to serve and rest. Oh, how I miss her.
Jesus rested many times.
I think of this often, as I tend to be more of a Martha, than a Mary. And I don’t mean Martha Stewart. But I do tend to focus on the tasks and my to-do lists when sometimes I just need to be.
I need to be. Be still. Breathe. To be with my children. To put down my thoughts and listen to a friend. Play just one more game. Be present to let the six-year-old attempt to brown the beef. Let my four-year-old attempt to crack an egg.
Tell it again.
While this is a sentiment as old as time, it seems we need to constantly remind ourselves to rest. What does that look like for you?
It does not have to even mean leaving your house (though I do recommend this at least occasionally). Rest could simply mean taking your coffee or tea out on your porch and feeling the briskness of the winter. (Or in the case of the south, the sultry heat at end of December, Arggh. ) Rest could even mean closing your eyes in silent prayer with a cartoon in the background. Going to your car to listen to your favorite songs or staying in the shower for just a few extra minutes to just be.
So as the end of a decade closes, what will your next decade look like? How will you choose your time to rest and be real? As Bekah’s book title suggests, will you “Choose Real?” Will you take time to rest and will you take time to be?
We each have twenty-four hours in a day. How will you choose to invest in yours?Bekah Jane Pogue, Choosing Real
I hope and pray you learn you are enough. I hope you know you can take time to just be. Be present in your own life. Be present in the Almighty God.
Everything else will follow.
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