I Don’t Have Time to Rest!

I recently saw a Facebook post from a dear friend from high school who was seeking to break up the social media negativity that seems to have taken over in 2020. She asked people to share something wonderful that happened in their lives despite the chaos this last year has brought. People shared freely about their marriages, babies, adoptions, new jobs, graduations, new pets, creative accomplishments, and so on. A recurring theme that I found popping up in most of the replies was time: longer maternity leave, more time with a high school graduate before they moved away to school, reinstated family game nights or family dinners, extra time to finish an assignment, new skills learned, forgotten hobbies renewed, more time to prepare for a new job, to pray or read the Bible. 

Why is time so important? Sometimes our lives get so busy that we don’t even realize how much the lack of free time affects us. Perhaps, in a small way, the quarantines and lockdowns gave us the chance to realize what we were missing. Even though the pandemic and its subsequent effects have caused understandable weariness in many of us, in some small way at least, it has given us the opportunity to slow down, to add time back into our days, and to rest. 

There are numerous verses in the Bible that encourage us to rest. I could offercould give offer a lengthy list, but I’d like to focus on one passage in particular. Mark 6:14-32 tells the tragic story of John the Baptist’s beheading. In verses 30-32, when the apostles tell Jesus about the beheading:

“He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.’ For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.” 

Mark 6:30-32

People coming and going without time even to eat? It sounds all too familiar to me. Aside from the significance of the events concerning John the Baptist, I find it interesting that Jesus’ first response to this tragic news is to take care of the apostles’ physical needs first. The death of John the Baptist is devastating news that disheartens and terrifies the apostles. Jesus saw that what they needed most was rest.

What’s most interesting, however, is that Jesus does not isolate the apostles from each other. The apostles isolate together as a group on a boat to rest. Part of the reason these last few months have been so difficult is that we aren’t meant to be isolated from our communities. While many of us may have been with immediate family, we were separated from other family, friends, and coworkers. Those of us who are introverts joked at the beginning of the lockdowns that we were made for this period of time, but all of us need community to some degree. 

In many ways, 2020 has been a scary year. The upheaval and uncertainty of COVID-19, the election, and the social, political, and racial tensions of the year have made many of us afraid, anxious, and tired. However, 2020 has not been all bad by any means. My high school friend drew attention to all of the wonderful things that have happened this year. Personally, despite the chaos of the past few months, I am celebrating so many things about this year. In May, I graduated with my Master’s degree. I began teaching at LCS, my alma mater, which is a dream come true for me as I always wanted to return “home” to my LCS family. I adopted the two most adorable kittens you’ve ever seen. I reconnected with friends and teachers I hadn’t seen in a long time. My family is healthy. I’ve had the time to work on creative projects I’d set aside during graduate school. 

I’m thankful for the little things, too. I’m thankful that school is in session and on campus. I’m glad I can attend the sports games of my students. I’m glad my family eats dinner together every night. I’m happy when I can video chat with my sister. 

Most of all, I’ve been able to rest.

How many of us hadn’t realized just how much we needed to slow down? How many of us in the past have said something like, “I’d love to take a break, but I just don’t have the time”? In some ways, 2020 has felt a little like survival mode, but in other ways, it forced all of us to take a break – whether we wanted to or not! – and recognize the need for rest in our lives. For health reasons, it may have been necessary to isolate for a period of time, but I encourage you to connect to your community in whatever way works best for you and enjoy time together. For the first several months of the lockdown, my family enjoyed taking walks, watching movies, baking, and playing Scrabble just because we finally had the time to enjoy those activities together.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in the coming days, I hope we can reflect on the big things as well as the small that have happened this year. Life moves so quickly, and it’s important to carve out those moments of celebration, fun, activity, but also rest.