Today, I confess my inability to rest and my great need to learn how.
When my doctor told me it would take my esophagus about six to eight weeks to recover from the trauma of my surgery, I thought, okay. I can do that. Prior to my surgery, I had booked a trip to California—a little business, a little pleasure. The problem was the trip was only four weeks post surgery. Believing in my supernatural powers, I thought…I’ll be fine. I can do it.
Note to self: I’m older. I’m not superhuman. This surgery was bigger than I imagined.
Rest-oration requires we understand our limitations.
So, I’m here. In Virginia. The fabulous, inaugural West Coast Christian Writer’s Conference is happening right now. Without me. So many of my favorite authors and speakers are there. Ugh.
I was scheduled to spend time with a great friend and speak to a vibrant group of young, West Coast MOPS moms about one of my favorite topics: Overcoming Anger. That will be going on without me. Ugh. But, God had other plans for me.
His plan is that I rest. He knows me so very well and sometimes, that just makes me mad.
I don’t like to rest. Oh, I like vacation resting—that is the only time I give myself permission to rest. It’s vacation after all. But resting at home…when I could be producing…seems so futile. It’s okay for a few days but after a few weeks, I start getting antsy. You know that feeling. The perilous voices of shoulds and oughts start crowding my mind and I feel like a complete and total slacker.
There, I said it. I confessed out loud my skewed and irrational thoughts about rest.
Restoration requires we become comfortable with being, not doing.
Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” ― Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation
During this rest-oration period, I’ve been reading through a few classics that I love:
- Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, Parker J. Palmer
- When the Heart Waits, Sue Monk Kidd
- Find a Quiet Corner, Nancy O’Hara
- Undone, Michele Cushatt
One hot-off-the-press book, that I believe will be a classic, is Michele Cushatt’s, Undone. Having come “undone” myself in the past few years, I was eager to read Michele’s story. I don’t know Michele personally, but know her through the writing and speaking circles in which I run. She, too, has been walking through her own personal health crisis. Every day I was in the hospital, I thought and prayed for her. She writes:
Cancer, as heinous and evil as it was, had delivered an unexpected gift. It taught us how to live. Not in regret over all the ways we wished we could go back and do it over. Not in mourning he countless unfinished, undone places that yet remained. And not in fear of the unknown future we couldn’t predict or control. Cancer—in both its presence and absence—had taught me the immeasurable value of today. Faith isn’t rooted in the past or the future. It’s birthed in how we approach and handle today. It’s the anchor that holds us firmly in the moment, allowing us the freedom to experience it and enjoy it regardless of the regrets and what-ifs. Those who have faith, deep abiding faith in an Artist who has all things under his control, have no need to rehash the past or predict the future. They’re content to sit on a park bench, sip wine, and watch the sunset with the one they love.”
Rest-oration requires we accept the present moment as our best moment.
If you were with me right now, you’d hand me a Kleenex because my eyes are full of grateful tears. Michele’s words, written during a blinding, agonizing season of pain, bring me life today. They give me courage to rest. To sit on a park bench, sip wine (maybe one day soon…not now, though), and watch the sunset with the one I love. Her faith teaches me how to approach and handle my very own today.
That is my hope and prayer for you today. That these words help you as they have helped me.