Recently I went on a hike with my kids (three teenagers and a tween) to enjoy the fall foliage. As we strolled along, my kids reflected on previous trips to this nature preserve during the early months of the pandemic. I was surprised to hear “You know, I really didn’t mind the shutdown.” Quickly the conversation turned to the unexpected perks of staying home:
Slower pace. Family games. Long hikes. Baking. SO MUCH baking! Movies. Sleeping in (these are mostly teenagers after all). “It was just so RESTFUL.” was greeted by sighs of agreement. And then the conversation was over. They turned their attention to taking pictures, climbing trees, and pelting each other with acorns. Until the downpour arrived and then they got pretty focused on hustling back to the car!
Some days later I was on another hike, this time alone. This was a much quieter, albeit less entertaining, outing. In the silence, I reflected on their conversation. [Let me pause here and acknowledge that my children did not experience many of the significant challenges facing other members of our local and global community. They had secure housing, access to food, educational support, and many other resources. While COVID-19 made its way through our home several times, no one required hospitalization and we did not experience the loss of a loved one.]
Back to rest. Listening to them chatter about this restful season prompted me to take inventory. Why isn’t this our default way of living? Did I/we need this enormous event to catalyze this change? What attitudes, patterns of living, and assumptions get in our way of engaging in rest? I encourage you to reflect on the role of rest in your own life and to consider ways to incorporate rest into daily life.
Perhaps it looks like harnessing your eye-gaze technology to cue up your favorite songs and enjoying a musical trip down memory lane. Maybe it’s setting aside the remaining items on your caregiver to-do list and cozying up with a treasured book by a favorite author.
However we define rest, let’s give ourselves permission to do it. You’ll notice I used “I/we/our” here as this isn’t a recommendation for “you” but a loving nudge to all of us…myself included.