On Sunday, I was too tired to attend a family gathering. I never miss them but felt my head spinning: oxygen intake was still not be what it should be.
With my contingent gone, I was retreating to my reading chair when I decided to pull on my raingear and head out to the back yard. A friend had just completed a beautiful lean-to against the shed -a cheerful garden workspace- and it needed 'moving in'.
I spent a good hour out there under the soft grey cloud cover, sheltered from the falling rain, its gentle splatter my only companion. With unhurried focus I began to organize the space, situating the potting table, the containers, the tools. I was puffing a bit after a while and wondered if I was overdoing it but then I noticed a sort of inner buoyancy so I continued for a spell.
By the time I got back inside, I knew I had spent my physical energy but realized at the same that my emotional tank had been completely refilled. I understood then the multi-dimensionality of rest. None of this was my plan, in fact I've had plenty such whims end in total frustration. No, this struck me as one of those 'Father knows best' sort of moments. My Father in Heaven that is.
The following day a family situation came to my attention, you know the kind, you have them too, and away I went on that familiar road to worry. This time however, with that full tank in my emotional reserve, I was able to stop myself in mid-thought: I would roll it all onto God's immeasurable shoulders, casting all my cares on Him, because He cares for me*, and I found myself at peace.
So I learned that rest is not simply for physical renewal, we are complex creatures, it involves emotional needs as well.
Never again will I blithely ignore my need for rest, emotional, physical or mental... never again will I thoughtlessly muscle my way through life, physically or emotionally, thinking I can or should in the name of perseverance or some such lofty ideal. Neither will I ever again view rest merely as a prescribed religious exercise. Rest is a time when God does His mysterious work of restoration and preparation in us to fit us for what He knows is coming.
I do not expect to walk flawlessly from now on where rest (or anything else) is concerned. But I have been awakened to its reality and necessity in more ways than I had ever imagined. I am convinced we need it as much as we need food and shelter. I will never forget this illness for what God has given me in it. In fact you might say I am going to rest in it.
(*1 Peter 5:7)