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“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
Jesus’ words in this week’s Gospel echoed the words Jesus had been whispering in my heart this summer.
Other ways I’ve heard Him put it:
Be more still.
It’s okay to sit and just be.
Stop. Take a breath. Take another. Love in the moment.
How did I hear Jesus say these things?
Well, He got my attention this summer with a high fever, a trip to the ER for dehydration, some migraine headaches and an upper respiratory infection.
The sickness started by total exhaustion, a high fever and then an episode where I was certain I was going to pass out because of pain, queesiness, blurred vision and I don’t know what else. I never felt anything like that. I ran from the shower to my bed moaning and crying to my husband for help. I just wanted to take a shower before I went to the doctor since the fever had me sweating so much. But apparently standing in the shower was to much to ask of my body. It felt like it revolted against me.
I felt so bad that I probably scared our six year old son. But I was scared. What was going on? What was causing me to be so sick?
In the back of my mind I kept thinking . . .
You’ve burnt the candle at both ends for to long. You’re not built like other moms. You need more sleep. Your lack of rest has led to this.
Then we arrive at the doctor’s office.
Tears started to come out of my eyes when the physician suggested I go to the ER. My pride and fear were mixed in my emotions. Since she said, “I suggest you go to the ER . . .” I considered not going . . . I mean, it was only a suggestion.
Thankfully my husband was there and he convinced me this was a strong suggestion. The doctor reaffirmed that fact.
After two bags of fluids were given to me through an IV, I went home to lay in bed and battle a fever and a weird headache for 5 more days. Thankfully between my husband, saintly neighbor, mom and sisters, there was only one day I had to be that sick while on mom duty. My six year old got to watch all the tv he wanted and the two one-year-olds; they got to watch a lot of tv as well. Survival mode was in full effect.
By the time my fever started to fade, an upper respitory issue surfaced. I helped my headache by allowing myself to have a cup of coffee – since I was used to 3 a day and hadn’t had one cup in a week. In fact, I think I ate 3 meals in those first 5 days.
I became very aware that I needed to take better care of myself.
Less coffee, more water.
Eat a real lunch.
Less sugar and cookies; more healthy foods.
Get more rest.
Since my lungs reminded me I should stop sleeping every day, I listened. I sat up and allowed myself to be down stairs on the couch and not attempt to clean anything. (By the way, my house always looks like there was a struggle and a tornado – so don’t get the impression that my house is ever ready for guests. It’s a mystery to me how I feel like all I do is pick up and clean all day – because it NEVER looks like that’s what I do – ever).
I think it was the day I sat on my couch that the book arrived. The book I wanted to read and possibly the book God knew I needed to read while He had my attention.
One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler
Since it was very clear to me that I was damaging my health by doing way to much and not taking better care of myself, I naturally was wondering:
Well what am I doing that I need to do less of – or stop all together?
Enter One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler; and a huge deep sigh of relief by me.
This book is one woman’s testimony about how it’s still okay to write even when you have small children that need you.
I was so grateful to get this message. Writing is a talent that God has given me that allows me to serve Him.
Perhaps when I go to write, it is when I “go to a deserted place and rest for a while”.
I so needed that reassurance. I also needed the advice Fulwiler was given by a wise priest . . .
Think less like an individual and more like a part of something bigger. A member of your family; one instrument in an orchestra; Just one member of the Body of Christ.
The truth is, I rarely ever read a whole book and I certainly haven’t read one since the twins were born.
I needed to read this book. I needed to have this testimony to help me look at what God was trying to tell me with the right perspective.
Then came today’s Gospel and Homily.
The Gospel again reminded me of the necessity of rest.
The Homily was given by a missionary. He talked about how beautiful the cooperation of two dioceses allows his mission to be a true light to a large number of people.
He talked about being a missionary in his country.
He described it as demanding and exhausting and challenging for all who accept the job. The role of a priest in this mission is the role of a father figure, a transportation provider, a police officer . . . any need a community could possibly have was often put on the priest in this area. Not only were people calling him for spiritual needs, they would also call him if they needed a ride to the hospital!
I immediately thought of my children and how they are my mission. They look to me for all of their needs and it is my mission to provide them.
And, it can be exhausting.
And then I think of the Gospel again. The apostles had been doing mission work and came back to Jesus to tell Him all about it. And what did He say?
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
There is was again – the Lord Himself tells us to get away and rest a while.
But I also recall the priest who gave the homily started and finished with the same message – how beautiful cooperation is and how it truly makes a difference.
Then I thought of Father George’s advice to Jennifer Fulwiler . .. and all of us.
Think less like an individual.
It’s okay that I can’t do it all on my own. It’s okay to accept help. I may serve the Lord with my writing while my neighbor serves the Lord spending time with my children.
I’m still trying to figure how to put what I learned into my every day life.
I think one way is to focus on the little things.
For example, towards the end of my sickness, there were times I could barely talk. I would lose my breath with even the shortest sentence.
Perhaps I should truly choose rest over talking more often on a normal day.
Do I really need to give my opinion about everything? Won’t my children learn more by my example rather than my words? Just because I don’t agree with my husband, does that mean I must tell him?
Perhaps I should, “give it a rest” and not say every thought that comes to mind.
Rest may not look like a hammock on a beach for me . . . but perhaps taking a deep breath instead of giving my two cents will help our family and my own health in the long run.
I also can’t stop thinking of how my husband and I can start thinking less like individuals and more like a part of something bigger. How our roles in our family and our world could be looked at differently and bring us closer to being who God wants us to be.
Do you need to embrace rest?
Let’s pray together.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you for being our Good Shepherd. Thank you for inviting us to leave our work and rest for a while. Thank you for inviting us to be still and listen to your voice.
Hearing these loving words of yours brings comfort and hope.
Please help us to refresh ourselves in the way You know is best for us.
Give us the knowledge and awareness of
when to rest,
how to rest
and where to rest.
Restore our energy in those moments and give us the grace we need to return to our mission with joy, excitement, energy and love.
Thank you for all who make it possible for us to rest.
Help us to serve You in a way that makes others want to serve You too.
We love You and believe in You,
So God put me in time-out. I knew I needed to embrace more times of prayer and silence; but I made excuses and didn’t “have the time”. When I was sick, I had lots of time to listen. I heard that I need to incorporate rest into what I write on my list each day, week and month. I need to take better care of myself. I need to use my talents but in a way that serves both God and my family. I need to work on thinking less like an individual and include my family more in what I love to do as well as what needs to be done. I need to be more aware of where I put my energy and focus more on love and simply, just being. I know I, like a sheep, am not the quickest learner. I will need to take more time out to listen to God and others, because change isn’t easy.
Simple steps and deep breaths… and it is okay to rest.
In fact, rest is a necessity.
How do you incorporate rest into your day and week? Please share, because I could use some tips . . . and I’m thinking I might not be the only one . . .
Confession: I tried the ThredUP goodie box – here’s my link for a coupon!ThredUp goodie box!
So glad you’re on the mend, Amy!! God was giving me the same message at Mass yesterday and I definitely need to listen! Self care is so so important.
I love how Jesus says come away and rest – makes me love Him even more!!! <3
Alicia Potvin says
Yes, I am glad you are on the mend. It reminded me of something my grandmother did that I forgot with my girls and that was giving us jobs to do while she was doing something. A dust rag to dust all the baseboards (sure they didn’t need them being 4 or 5 years or less, we needed to be part of the helping), snapping beans, sorting through berries and laundry (all the whites from colours). The jobs grew as we did but we learned how to mend, clean and prepare foods. All the while Mamie talked about Mother Mary. Yes, we are there for our children but they can help us too. In fact they love to help and know they are helping and not just picking up their toys because that is always the same but different things. It slows us down from whipping through all the chores and the children are more part of our day. As little as they are they can help or at least try and those moments are really fun too. Hubbys too. 😉
Alicia – I love this! You are so right – they do enjoy helping! I need to embrace that much more with my 6 year old before it is to late . . . and I have noticed the twins love to clean off their trays. I have to say though, Jaina seems to like helping more than the boys haha! Thank you so much for your advice and guidance!
Alicia Potvin says
You are most welcome. It is just what I wished that I had learned when my children were little. I didn’t think it was important but it became huge now that they are adults and are not skilled in the ability to see what needs doing and to help.
Allison Gingras says
Good grief that is a hard way to learn a lesson!! Glad you are on the mend, I missed your on social media!!
Thank you Allison <3
Amen! I’m glad you shared this!