This is a blog post that was originally posted on the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network website.
And on the seventh day God ended God’s work which God had done, and God rested on the seventh day from all God’s work which God had done. Genesis 2:2
There is a lot to be said for rest and rejuvenation. I can honestly say that in the last year I’ve probably worked harder than I ever have. And I’m not getting any younger. While I will also be the first to say that I am truly fortunate to do work that I love, it doesn’t mean that I am immune to stress, which can be a risk factor for so many physical and mental maladies.
My wife and I have been coming to Cape Cod, where I am writing this now, for many years. We honeymooned here, brought our children here many times over the years and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary here. On a side note, I’m listening to music, which I often do when I write. The song that is playing is called “Heaven” by the British duo Lamb. The refrain is, “This could be heaven right here on earth.” That’s how I’d sum up the time we’ve had together.
One of the things that I love about where we are at is simply looking at the ocean. There is something awe inspiring about looking at the horizon and seeing water meet sky. I think about the permanence of God’s work and that this same horizon has existed for millennia. The sound of the waves gently crashing against the shore is hypnotic.
Essentially, the time spent here is an example of what self-care in action looks like (to steal my wife Suzy’s phrase). When I’m home, I try to practice self-care but often fall short of what I’d consider to be optimal. While here, I get the opportunity to pause, reflect and consider what is truly important and where to place my priorities. The one thing I have concluded is that time is one of the most valuable commodities I have. I cannot reverse time or even stop it. But it is possible to hit the reset button, and to re-connect with myself and restore my sense of wellbeing.
One of the important considerations here is that I need to take these lessons and continue to practice them when I get back home. That is the challenge. It will do me no good to return and run full steam ahead into the go, go, go pace of life that serves to compromise my health. I know that this will not be easy (knowing myself the way I do) but it’s necessary. It will require intentionality and a level of discipline. It will also necessitate setting healthy boundaries and saying “no” at times. But by doing these things I will be able to sustain myself and my work longer.
If God was able to acknowledge the work that God had done was good and take the time to rest from then why shouldn’t I do the same?
God, may I be mindful of my need for self-care and remember that in order to do the work you require of me, that I take care of my mental and emotional wellbeing. Amen. w