Happy Monday, my friends! Some people do vacations really well. They know what they want, what they need, and what they enjoy. They easily disconnect and settle into whatever their time away is going to be. I know one couple who love cruises, another couple who need some type of adventure, many of my fraternity brothers need to burn energy hiking or skiing. My family all needs different things and our vacations are always an exercise in compromise. My mom wants quiet away from home; my sister wants the same thing, but with a bit of adventure thrown in; my brother-in-law needs adventure and activity of some kind; my dad would be perfectly happy doing what he does every day in retirement; and my ideal vacation involves being left alone with only enough WiFi to stream music, my laptop to write, and no temptation of email, social media, TV, or news reports. Like I said, family vacations are a compromise.
No matter what type of vacation you prefer or what you consider relaxing, rest is important. In fact, rest is sacred. After creating the world, God rests and sets that day as the first day of the week, meaning that God recognizes that we all need rest to be ready for our work and lives. Sleep, rest, and time away from the business of the world features heavily throughout the Bible with Moses going up various mountains to speak directly to God, John the Baptist and Jesus going into the desert to pray and reflect. Almost every religious tradition includes some version of contemplative or monastic experience which can be forms of rest.
Tricia Hersey, found of the Nap Ministry, calls a rest a form of resistance. When we intentionally take time for ourselves, we fight back against a culture which tells us that success and achievement can only be won through work and more work. Often called “grind culture,” the American work culture, even post pandemic, reflects a model of white supremacy where if you only work harder than everyone else you will eventually get ahead. The truth is that many people—white people included—will never be able to improve their conditions through hard work alone. While commitment and dedication are helpful, money, connections, and luck all have more ability to lift a person and their ideas. Resisting this narrative and even refusing to participate in it, is a way of reclaiming ourselves and our mental and physical health.
How do you rest? What do you need to feel relaxed?
Let us pray: God, make our rest an act of resistance to the world and its culture of endless work. Help us step away from moments of “powering through” and from goals of “grinding.” Empower us to take time away and disconnect. Remind us that until quite recently rest and relaxation was more than a passing whim. In all things, help us know that even you, creator of all, rested. Amen.
Blessings on your week, my friends! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.