Saturday, October 09, 2010

Come, Rest Awhile...

Come, rest awhile, and let us idly stray
In glimmering valleys, cool and far away.

Come from the greedy mart, the troubled street,
And listen to the music, faint and sweet,

That echoes ever to a listening ear,
Unheard by those who will not pause to hear

The wayward chimes of memory's pensive bells,
Wind-blown o'er misty hills and curtained dells.

One step aside and dewy buds unclose
The sweetness of the violet and the rose;

Song and romance still linger in the green,
Emblossomed ways by you so seldom seen,

And near at hand, would you but see them, lie
All lovely things beloved in days gone by.

You have forgotten what it is to smile
In your too busy life. Come, rest awhile.

~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

I blatantly stole this poem from a blogger friend, Gracious Hospitality. I know she won't mind. It says exactly what I've been feeling for the past two months or so. I have needed to rest awhile for so long, I almost didn't know how to do it once I got the chance. I truly had forgotten what it was to smile. My life was too busy. Busy doing God's work, albeit. But too busy all the same. I had been ignoring the part where Jesus Himself says we need rest. Of course the only true place to find rest is in Him:

"Come unto Me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest."

Why is it that it seems wrong to rest sometimes? When you're involved in the Lord's work, it seems as if there is never enough time to do all that needs to be done. There is always one more meeting, one more activity, one more phone call to make. One more, one more. And you feel guilty if you don't do that one more thing. Trouble is, it begins to add up...and take its toll.

I spent 17 years at my last job. 17 years that were exhausting and draining to the point where I felt empty, dead inside and out. Everyone wanted something from me and even though I gave them my all, literally, it was not enough. Couldn't possibly have been enough for all they wanted. Towards the end, I didn't want to answer my phone, open my e-mail, go to church, go anywhere except to my family's homes. I went to work because I had to, and I did my job because it was there, but I knew I was spent. And I knew I had to go.

I didn't know where I was going to go, or what I was going to do, but having spent my entire life serving the Lord, I knew He would give me something else to do. Somewhere fresh and new, something I could do while at the same time be renewed myself. It took a month and a half for something to come along. In the meanwhile, I rested.

I took a workshop, visited a number of literary "hotspots," wrote, spent time with my family, and walked. A lot. I lost 20 pounds, recovered my perspective, and felt happier than I have in years. And then came the new job. In Arizona. Just teaching. Amazing.

God knows. He knows what we need. He knows how and where we can best serve Him. He knows long before it ever happens. And yet He lets us figure it out for ourselves. That, too, is amazing. That He knows, and yet lets it be our choice.

As I write this, I am sitting on my back patio, listening to a church service, surrounded by bird song, interrupted by the frequent hummingbird buzzing in for a refreshing dip into the feeder just feet from the table where I write. Three months ago I could not have foreseen this. I could not have, not even in my wildest dreams, imagined myself in Arizona, back in a boarding school, enjoying every minute of my day. True, I am thousands of miles from most of my family, and that has been very hard, but I feel alive again. I am well-rested every day. And I'm smiling again. Yes, smiling.


La Tea Dah said...

Rondi, my heart belongs in Arizona. I really am enjoying your photography, as it reminds me of so many pleasant times.

You are "welcome" for the poem --- it is just perfect for today! I hope that this is a year of rest for you as you refocus on what is important in life.


Rondi said...

I am enjoying having new things/places to photograph. Glad the pictures are bringing back good memories.

Morning's Minion said...

I'm pleased to read this update--I've wondered if your brave move was working out well.
We made the move into retirement in a place we've never lived [KY] and though we are very busy we have found this a welcoming place.
I was worn down with too many duties in our tiny WY church--and increasingly distressed by the prevailing perfectionist mindset.
The church here has been a welcome refreshment thus far.

Rondi said...

I am too far from my parents and sisters, and it's fairly expensive to fly back east during the times I am "free," but other than that, I am enjoying life and work here. I well understand being "worn down." I am regaining strength and perspective here...