Without suggesting lethargy or sloth, why is it that productiveness or daily success is measured by what was accomplished? A day spent with family or in the arms of the one you love in which you do absolutely nothing but enjoy the other’s company is infrequent and undervalued. From the moment we awaken we are ‘plugged in’ to our devices and the world and return from our day’s work with a tired mind only to answer more emails, read the news, or plant ourselves in front of the television. WE ARE RESTLESS! And my heart and mind are exhausted.
Over the past month I have become more aware of this longing within me and this need to be filled by the beauty of this world. I want to feel the sun on my face, the cold air on my skin, and the quiet of being in a place where I am free from the noise of the city and the traffic of travelers. There are days when I want to lay in nature, nights when I want to look up at the stars and attempt to understand existence, and times when I would do anything just to sit on the side of a mountain and just be.
Many who know me would classify me more as a ‘Martha’ who prefers to keep busy, serve ceaselessly, and remain active. On the outside, this is a perfect description of how I represent myself and what I am most comfortable doing. But now, more than ever, I realize that my heart and soul need rest. Amidst the whirl of busyness I need days of quiet and moments of peace. And I now see that Jesus is asking me to make this time for Him and for myself.
Late last night, for the first time in the nine months of being in China, I bundled up in oversized sweaters, grabbed my blanket, and placed myself in the middle of my compound’s parking lot beneath the stars. Without music I sat there looking at the clear night and studied the stars. Realizing how uncomfortable I was in the pure silence, I began to actually hear the melody of the natural world- the way the leaves rustle against one another because of a strong breeze, the sound of people getting ready to retire for the night, and the hum of insects scurrying in the dark. Despite the frigid temperatures and the short duration, last night was probably my favorite night in the entirety of my time here in China. For the very first time I could rest from trying to please others, I could rest from my planning, and I could enjoy the moments of freedom that I so desperately need. It was truly beautiful.
So, in summation, should we all quit our jobs and live as unmotivated hermits in the wilderness? No! But should we create time in our schedules so that we may actually live? Yes! Our time here is precious and this world is filled with beauty in the simplest forms. Cherish your lives, cherish your relationships and one another. I am praying for you.