It is a familiar drive, one done enough times that I have stopped counting. When I pull up to the cabin, a wave of calm comes over me. This place is shared with me by generous and loyal friends. It is the first week of August, the very beginning of my holidays. As soon as I am unpacked, I grab a book and head to the dock. I look out at the water and notice the sound of it lapping along the shore. A dragonfly lands on my arm. I exhale and close my eyes.
As peaceful as my surroundings are, it takes time for me to settle. Sometimes I feel anxious, I think because my body is remembering my typical schedule and somehow believes I am forgetting where I need to be- at a staff meeting or doing a meal-to-go or on a fundraising call. I also recognize that I am not nearly done processing the past year, one that has been packed with transition and a lot of grief. I break out into tears multiple times, not even sure what I am crying about specifically at any given moment. I decide to give myself space for all of it.
As the week wears on, I can feel a shift toward rest. I am drawn to dancing in the kitchen while I am cooking, watching the hummingbirds for extended periods of time, reading an entire book in a day, kayaking the perimeter of the lake, and napping in the sun. The solitary time, while not always easy, is good. It points me toward what is going on in my heart and mind and urges me to raise it up in prayer.
I leave the cabin and return to the city. Some days are quiet and slow. Other days are full of visits and outings. Dion and I drive to Niagara Falls for a day. I get on a plane to fly to Nova Scotia to visit friends and family. While there, I officiate my cousin’s wedding. It is a beautiful day, one that I can only think to describe as magical. My feet hurt (in the best way) from all the dancing. I return to crisis that is now fortunately retracting its head. Today I am saying a tearful goodbye to friends-like-family who are moving across the country for a year. I am feeling all the feels.
Marva Dawn writes about the components of Sabbath being ceasing, resting, embracing and feasting. I know that settling into that kind of rhythm is what I desire. And it is surprisingly hard work. I am learning that to truly rest I must cease, whether that be for ½ a day or a week or a month. This August I have been provided the space to journey from ceasing all the way to feasting. There have been bumps and distractions along the way. I am learning that rest does not promise a cessation of challenge. I am also convinced that it equips me to keep doing what I love to do.
I sit in my living room and gaze at the darkness of the night through the window. I am happy to be motivated to write for the first time this month. I can hear a cricket. I’m thinking about making some popcorn to eat. In just a few days I will be picking up my daughter, Cate and like-a-son, Declan at camp. They are both going to be living in the house with me this coming year. I exhale and close my eyes, just as I did on the dock at the cabin. I feel many things, but not anxious. Soon I will return to work.
I am ready.