Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Friday, March 6, 2020

rest, nature, books, music

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”
                               Leo Tolstoy

“After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.”
                               Kenneth Grahame (Wind in the Willows), The Wind in the Willows

 “I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.”
                               Beatrix Potter

I think it was programmed in my soul early on
this idea that one must always be doing “something”

perhaps it came from my rural physician father
or my dynamo mother, who lead girl scout groups
and 4H groups

or from them as a couple
as they led the youth group at our little church
and were involved in service in so many other ways

perhaps it was simple a family tradition
as my Mennonite ancestors
were without exception, people who consciously
and deliberately served their communities
as teachers, doctors, pastors,
and more

(and yes, some were farmers)

But it is in my bones
the need to serve
to be useful
to help

and it is difficult
to rest

I know I need rest
my doctor tells me I need rest
that my body is designed for rest

my training tells me
self-care is important

so what is it about me
that pushes me out from underneath
the covers

at home I can blame the dog
who wants his walk
the horses who want their hay

but why on vacation is it so hard
just to rest
to relax
to step away from the computer?

why do thoughts of work
worries about clients
concerns about ‘forgotten’ tasks
continue to haunt

it may of course, partly be anxiety
and it may also be the fact
that busyness helps quiet the monkeys
chattering in my head

but I suspect it is more that I was taught
somewhere along the way
that if I wanted to have value
and if I wanted to be respected
and leave a legacy

I would need to be the proverbial “human doing”
that I would be measured by jobs and titles
and accomplishments
and, most of all, service

which means of course
that I am discounting my value
as a human being

it is a curious question, isn’t it
who do we really respect and value the most
who are our “true” heroes?

for me, one hero is my sister Susan
who has the gift of hospitality and compassion

another was “Aunt Pansy”, long gone
but who gave me such unconditional love

yes, there are the people of accomplishment
such as my Uncle David, who was an advocate
and a peacemaker

but so many of those who have touched my life
have done so simply by being who they are
deep down
at the center their being

people of quiet compassion
people who are simply

people who have taken the time
to let their souls catch up to their bodies
and out of the deep richness
found in moments of rest

Sacred Children

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