A year ago, while sheltering in place, I experienced a strange, new kind of rest.
Even while working from home, keeping kids busy and feebly attempting distance learning version 1.0, life had so much more space! We weren’t running off every evening to a meeting or an event. We took intentional breaks for a walk or a swim or gardening. We didn’t wake up at 6:30 to get everyone where they needed to be.
I realize this was not everyone’s experience, and it certainly took me weeks of living it to feel how much pressure was released by having fewer commitments. I deeply mourned the many places we could not go, weddings we could not attend, and loved ones we could not interact with.
Much was lost in that time. But I felt the benefit of the rest, even while I longed for normal life.
That rest taught me to parent my children in new ways. It taught me to recharge even when I can’t clear my whole schedule. It taught me that interdependence is a gift and not a burden. It showed me clearly how my life needs to change if I want it to reflect my deepest values.
I also saw all the good the rest of creation experienced when humanity was forced to rest from overproduction, overtourism and the like, and that made me wonder whether my culture really understands rest at all! We hear ‘rest’ and we think ‘day off’. I doubt the biblical authors would agree with our assessment.
Life was created with Kingdom Rest in mind, the kind of Rest that springs up from the reign of God and brings forth a flourishing that all our busyness can never recreate. That’s a lesson I don’t want to forget as we reopen our lives this spring.
The Rest of Creation
When Creation imagined its rest
Its never-ending Sabbath
Perhaps it saw more than escape in its mind’s eye
Perhaps more than sleep or the dulling of pain –
Moments of oblivion
The rest of the Creator, imagined by Creation,
Must have been more akin to rightness than forgetfulness
More like order than a shutting of eyes against chaos
Infinitely more fruitful than work and life communing,
Balanced on the scales
What have we made it then?
Nothing but a breath in the struggle,
Cessation of gain, grudgingly given in hopes of more gain
A means to an end rather than the end result
Of a Very Good Creation
Maybe when we see with our eyes
The King on his throne, ready to rule the rightness
Then, perhaps, we will surrender our addiction to the chaos
Lay aside our faith in striving, our efforts to improve the design
Accept the boundary-lines where they fall
On That Day – even before! – may we encounter
The open-handed flourishing of rest freely received
The harmonizing rule of Creator gifted to beloved Creatures
Restored again to an eager Creation
that has waited long enough
©2021 Jacqueline Tisthammer. All rights reserved.