This is another week filled with online evening meetings. The evening meetings are good ones: a forum for people serving as seminary student mentors, fellowship time with my congregation, a conversation about supporting pastors of color, visio divina lenten devotionals, and a gathering of congregations committed to healing racism. I get to do so much rich work with so many creative and committed people. I love what I do, even though sometimes the meta-context of being a churchwoman gets messy and gross.
Next week is Holy Week, and it is shaping up to be filled with evening and early morning commitments, too, as my friend Pastor Anita and I plan, prepare, lead, record and share 5 worship services together over the course of the week. This, too, is good and rich and life-giving. I’m so grateful for the partnership that opens doors to a broader liturgical tradition than I can host by myself in my very low-church context, and excited about walking the Holy Week journey with our neighbors.
I have vacation scheduled, and strategic weekdays and Sundays off in the coming months, but the next week and a half is going to be hard and full. And with a schedule that stubbornly refuses to fit into a 9-5 workday container, I struggle to figure out where and how to find real rest in this kind of working life. Living and working exclusively at home for the last year – having very thin boundaries between work hours and leisure hours, workspace and relaxation space – makes the effort even more complicated.
And: I know it is essential.
I joined a virtual mid-year retreat for Brethren Volunteer Service volunteers yesterday: sat down at the same desk I sit at every day, opened up the same laptop I am writing on now, and joined *another* Zoom call. Nothing about my physical reality or bodily posture indicated that I was participating in a RETREAT. I am so glad to get to connect in this way with so many people and groups, but yesterday’s event made me especially long for the real restfulness of actual retreat.
I wished I could fly out to Illinois – read a novel on the plane and get some Intelligentsia coffee from the ORD food court when I landed – and hop in a friend/colleague’s car for the hour drive out to Dickson Valley Camp. I wanted to curl up in a ratty old armchair by the fireplace and finish that novel while folks chatted leisurely together around me. I wanted to sit in the cafeteria, fill my plate with mediocre camp food from the buffet, and linger over our coffee as we told story after story. I wanted to practice silence and prayer and lectio divina together sitting in a circle in the lodge basement. I wanted to take a chilly walk by the river in the midwestern muddy spring.
I wanted a change of scenery. I wanted to forget about the piles of undone tasks stacked up on my makeshift home office desk. I wanted to ignore my phone because the lack of service & wifi meant that no one could reach me, anyway. I wanted to REST.
I asked those volunteers, yesterday, what their perfect day of rest and retreat would include. If you had an entire day to rest – no pandemic restrictions apply – what would you do? The volunteers would go biking, hiking, crochet, spend the day outside with friends, engage in a day-long tour of their favorite restaurants.
I’m asking myself that question, now, and marking out a day on my post-Easter calendar to make it happen. It’s time to rest. Hope you can find some, too.