Rest

I’m a skilled sleeper.  I have been known to fall asleep in movies, concerts, once in a comedy show, and regularly in my son’s bed when laying down with him “for just a minute.”  In college I’d rather go to bed early than go out most of the time, and it’s even more true now.

But rest… rest is an entirely different thing.  And I’m not good at it.

Rest is about refreshing, recharging, healing.  It’s about quieting and just being.

And I don’t know how to do that.  I must check my email, social media, text messages, etc.  I must be doing something productive to feel the time is worthwhile, or at the very least be doing something.

But rest and laziness are not the same, as rest has true value in itself.

This week, Michael is back in the hospital after about a month of being ill, with the past week quite bad.  I told him many times that not being able to participate in things they way he wants to and should be able to doesn’t make him any less valuable or loved.  Because his body needs the rest, and when pushed only punishes him.  Though he hates it, he’s now to the point where we have to force rest, because the only other option is terrible nausea and constant vomiting.  There are a lot of meds forcing it, giving it time to get past this episode.

I’ve made the decision in the past few days to let this be a season of more rest for me too.  I’m not sure all that entails, but I’m praying about it, because my natural inclination is to try to do it all.  Some projects need to fall by the wayside, for now at least, to free my mind for rest, which can lead to wonderful things.  And closer relationships with those who matter most- God, our family and our friends.

Do you push so hard that you never rest?  Have you asked yourself why, or planned when it will slow enough that you get that much needed rest?

God can reach us through the unrest, but it’s sometimes so much easier to hear Him when we rest.

rest

Meditation for Beginners

Meditation is an art, a long-standing practice that originated with someone very wise I’m sure. The ability to center one’s self, to breathe deeply and live fully in the moment is a skill that takes practice. I have visions of mastering this art, and being able to simply be still. Not just my body, but also my mind. To pray fully focused on my intent, to write fully focused on what I’m trying to convey, or to even play with my boys without wondering how quickly I can jump to the next thing.

If you arrived here hoping to find an expert, you’re so out of luck. I was tortured this morning with about 20 minutes of time in a dark room, in a fairly comfortable position, with therapy treatments happening on my back. 20 minutes with no phone, no books, no voices, no distractions. Just me and God time. Or it could have been me and me time. But instead it was me and God time for about 30 seconds at a time, broken up by moments of lost train of thoughts, knees begging to be cracked, a phone buzzing to be checked, before I’d come back to my prayer. I should be enjoying these moments of quiet, with nothing to do but heal and be still.

Instead, I’m searching for a book that must exist, Meditation for Beginners (or Dummies).

In the meantime, here are some things I’m trying, to help me find if there’s a hope for me in this mess of a mind.

– Accepting that for 20 minutes, three times a week, my only activity is being still.
– Putting the phone down more. I won’t likely ever be the person that forgets where their phone is for a day. It’s too much a part of my job and my goals with writing. But I can give my kids my full attention for more than 30 seconds at a time and just be there. (I wish this one wasn’t so hard)
– Just write. Many times I have too many thoughts and ideas flying around and can’t seem to get organized and settled enough to share them. I’m pushing myself to just start writing, and worry about editing later. It’s okay if it’s a mess.

 meditation

The biggest challenge of being still is the thoughts that come that you’d rather not face. Just a week or so away from the 6th anniversary of the last day we saw Austin, thoughts of him come often. Which lead to thoughts of our search and the lack of progress, which lead to thoughts of hopelessness. I wish that thoughts of Austin could ever just be the good memories, but I’m not sure that’s possible. So I don’t welcome the good memories as much either, because they turn into painful ones.

Thankfully, the painful thoughts usually turn to thoughts of hope and images of what the day will look like when we finally know. I still believe that it will be another painful time, one of grieving or more questions, because no matter the result there will be that. But I know who will be standing by our side, who will help shine Hope into the darkness, and know that God will use people like us to keep shining it for others.

But my best chance of shining that light is if I can be present and put all my energy into one thing for those moments I have. So, if you know of a book like Meditation for Beginners, or Meditation for Dummies, let me know!