There is this notion that has been steadily and enticingly waving at me over the years. It has not been able to get my full attention for all this time because I am a restless person by nature . I don’t know how to truly sit still long enough to grasp a thing that wants to be grasped through the experience of it.
I am a foot tapping, eye roving, mind moving, inner wanderer type.
So for REST to sidle up alongside me, tap me on the shoulder and invite me to join him on a little journey of his own, well, that has been plain annoying. And when it has not been annoying, it has been quite impossible. You don’t get as REST-less as I am at times over a short period. I have had a life time of practising the art of keeping on the move.
Caffeine also helps…
I was first properly introduced to the concept of REST in the pages of a fantasy novel- one with wizards and destinies and heroes wandering around in it a-plenty.
Within this novel I discovered two most delightful characters: one elderly (as they are), kind and wise (as they also are) wizard, with a long, grey beard, wizard staff, wizardly sense of humour and wizard cart and cart horse to match (see the opening scenes of Lord of the Rings to see if it is such an uncommon thing for a wizard to possess a horse and cart…)
The second character was an uncharacteristic wizard apprentice: an impatient lad of some thousand years of age; bald, short and stout; and incredibly short-tempered and grumpy.
He needed some rough edges hewn off- which is why the wizardly wizard happened upon him on a country lane one day and commanded him to clamber aboard the cart to sit alongside him for the next few thousand years or more. It was time for grumpy to learn a thing or two.
As the story unfolds, we find the wizardly wizard trying to teach his unwizardly apprentice some important values and life lessons- some of which take the grumpy guy the span of 500 years to grasp.
And still, the wizardly wizard sticks to it, unperturbed by any forms of sulking or exasperations.
In our current world of fast fixes, instant results and self expectations to be perfect and to ‘jolly-well-get-on-with-it!’ this notion of space and time to Become was, for me, a novelty.
Imagine having endless time to mature and grow? And, more importantly, imagine having a teacher alongside you to stare at you with raised eyebrow, to put up with your tantrums and to exhibit relievingly high levels of patience and love as you blow things up, muck things up and fail to learn what is needed to learn on the first 100 tries?
Imagine never ever being rejected in the process of becoming who you are…
Yes, that is when this notion of REST first grinned at me enticingly…
And, yes, we live in a real world that does not contain Gandolf and his kind, so as soon as I put the novel and my two delightful wizards down, I brushed REST aside to realistically get on with anxiously living.
In life, however, many things happen for a reason.
When I first sceptically narrowed my eyes at God, at the introverted age of 16, to entertain the reality of his existence, It suddenly came to me that I was now Short Grumpy and my God was wizardly wizard: ancient, wise, endlessly patient and inviting me to clamber aboard his cart so I could journey with Him a while.
I think I was tired of walking the path on my own two legs. I needed to REST. I needed someone to be patient with me. I needed some form of relief. So I obliged 😉
Unfortunately, I don’t think that I have yet grasped the nature of journeying with my God closely and patiently enough to be able to soak in His uncomplicated, patient, perceptive nature.
I am still blowing things up. Rather grumpily.
But every now and then I suddenly remember and then REST gives me a little wave to come on over for as long as I am able to. He gets the billycan boiling and I sink down next to Him in the grass and enjoy a cup or two of fine brew…
Decaffeinated, naturally 😉
I believe that God wants to give us REST from many things:
Our anxieties, performance pressures, our despair, disillusionments, pain, confusion, restlessness, feelings of abandonment, loneliness… the list goes on.
I just don’t think that He can do it when we are on the trot.
May 2011 find you and I sitting on that cart, as grumpy as we like, but safe on a journey of growth, discovery, affirmation and REST.