Rest, At Midday (Though Neck-Deep in Chaos)

It can take hours to suit up two kids for a cold weather jaunt through the neighborhood. First, we must all visit that old favorite, the bathroom. Second, we must verify that the people are wearing pants before pulling on long socks, snow bibs, and boots. Gloves go on before the jackets. Mom and Dad must suit up, too, and by the time we all waddle out the door, my Bogg boots glisten with the drool of two dogs anxious to join the party.

Yesterday, as Zach and I raced waning daylight to dress the kids, Izaak fell asleep in my lap. Snow boots and all.

Maybe you’ve been plucked from your comfort zone. Maybe sudden illness or some other unexpected interruption demands that you slow it down.

Maybe you’ve wisely noticed your pattern demands too much of you and you’ve made plans to throttle back.

Maybe you’ve worked hard several seasons to develop a rhythm that promotes what toddlers and adults often rail against: rest.

Sweet, sweet rest. Why do we resist you?

We fear missing out. We fall prey to social media, a vast sea of chaos powered by a dangerous undercurrent of urgency. Unable to help ourselves, we partake of the rotten fruit of a civilization so hellbent on progress it’s carted self-care to market. And we know so much better than to feed into the world’s chant to come play. Hurry up! You’ve missed out. Take what’s yours, now.

Still, we can’t sing, “make the world go away,” and expect it to do so. Nor can we vacate our lives long enough to never again need rest. Rest must be a life-rhythm. A daily practice. One we cultivate.

And it’s not enough to develop a regular sleep routine. I can’t tell you the last time I slept through the night blessedly uninterrupted.

On a wicked whim, Jesus’ cousin was beheaded. Grief-stricken, Jesus sought the solitude of the mountains and the quiet company of his Father.

Of course, Jesus’ fans followed him. Instead of claiming what was his to claim, he had compassion. He let them hang around. He healed them.

When dusk made hazy the faces in the crowds, the disciples thought it was high time to claim what was theirs to claim: a break for supper. “Jesus, the people need to eat, too,” they said.

“Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat,’ (Matthew 14:16).”

The twelve had only five loaves and two fish.

Of course, in the right hands, their humble offering was multiplied for the nourishment of thousands.

I learned many things from my recent reading of Matthew 14, but I’m most excited about two.

First, Jesus served out of compassion and still maintained his boundaries. (If you read past the Feeding of the Five Thousand you see Jesus eventually retreated to his solitary place.)

Second, in the right hands, a humble offering multiplies.

Caring for kids who remind me more of cats to be wrangled, or who rail impressively against rest, I sometimes crawl through my days drained of patience and kindness and joy. On those days, Jesus still asks for what little I have to offer. Even if it’s a negative balance. He creates much out of my nothing, and through his provision, I can guiltlessly maintain boundaries and still serve – out of compassion! – though my offering is insufficient.

For me, that is rest. Rest more ready and reliable than what little I get at night or on some epic vacation.

And it’s best experienced as a life-rhythm. A daily practice we cultivate.

Much like nap time for Izaak.

Side note: No, it’s not Monday again! Posting as a part of the hope*writer’s writing challenge. This was a response to day two’s prompt: rest

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