I don’t think she realized the value of the gift she gave me. An author we both loved was speaking at a church in her town and my friend didn’t hesitate to purchase tickets for the both of us. She didn’t even ask me first. After almost 20 years, I guess she knows me well enough that I might like to come if I didn’t have anything else going on. Living three hours apart, our schedules never involve one another until we intentionally decide they should.
When she paid for my ticket, she didn’t know that my anxiety and stress would be at an all time high. She couldn’t know my soul would need desperate peace and quiet, away from the chaos of motherhood, laundry, and life. But perhaps she did. Old friends have a sense, despite the miles and infrequent conversation, that somehow a weekend together is something we would both relish.
Embarking on my weekend of rest, I was intentional about my time and availability. While the actual rest didn’t involve extra sleep, it did involve soul rest. That was something I couldn’t plan, but simply allowed to happen.
Soul Rest. I don’t think it is as much about a place or a time, but with whom. Its about surrounding yourself with people who know the depths of you. The ones who can point out your strengths within the backdrop of your weaknesses. Bonds that have stretched but not broken. Lives that have changed but grown. This weekend, masks were off. My soul laid wide open, lifted, encouraged, and strengthened, found rest in friends who have walked with me for so long, I don’t know how they’ve stayed. There have been seasons in my life where I didn’t even want to stay. The pain too great and the unknown too dark, everything in me wanted to run, but these friends held on tight so many years ago.
We’ve promised to do this again. A weekend of coffee, comfy clothes, chocolate chip cookies, and plenty of conversation. Nothing urgent or dramatic. No one telling us where to go or what to do, but just letting our time together happen.
Our souls need rest, a break from urgency and demands. We can not begin to nurture the souls of others until we have spent time tending to our own.
When I arrived back home, I took my kids to the park, walked my dog, and prepared for the week. I was able to pour out of my refilled soul into the lives of those around me. Taking time for soul rest is vital. Pouring from an empty pitcher is pointless. Ask for help, if necessary, to make soul rest a regular part of your life. Surround yourself with people who expect nothing from you and know your worst, but love you the best.
“God is the soul’s rest. In him only it can dwell at ease; to him therefore it must retire, and rejoice in him. Return to that rest which Christ gives to the weary and heavy-laden.” Matthew Henry