Here we are already in the first week of August. For many, this means that we are two-thirds through the summer. I wonder: where has the time gone? As an educator on a school schedule, I always look forward to the summer. It’s a time that is a little less hectic, a little more relaxed. It’s a time for the Four R’s – rest, relaxation, re-connection and reflection. In the second chapter of Genesis we read, “Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work God had been doing, God rested on the seventh day from all the work God had undertaken.” (Genesis 2:2)
What’s the value of rest? When I did a little surfing on the net to see what others said about the value of rest, I came across articles on chemistry, theology, business, health, physical fitness, family life, medicine, biology, music, education, sports and many others. Almost every area has some idea of and need for rest. Ovid, the poet said, “Take rest, a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” Our bodies need some down time to heal.
Leonardo da Vinci is credited with saying “every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgement will be surer.” Relaxation is different from rest. It’s letting go of stress and anxiety. It also means taking time for fun.
During our hectic lives, it’s easy to allow our relationships to drift away. While we are zooming down the digital highway, we are actually limiting ourselves to short bursts of communication via texts, tweets or emails. For me, reconnecting with friends and family are more possible over the summer. Lingering over dinner, taking a walk, making a phone call all help us reconnect.
Meister Eckhart once wrote “All God wants of [us] is a peaceful heart.” Reflecting on our relationship with God is one of the most valuable activities we can do all year long. Jesus understood this when he “would withdraw to deserted places to pray.” (Luke 5:16)
On this first week of August, I want to promise myself four ways to give myself more time all year long:
- Slow down and rest more.
- Have more fun and do something different than my normal routine.
- Call someone special I have not talked with in a long time.
- Take an extra few minutes every day to quiet myself and remember that even God rested.