Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wrestling with Rest

We took a vacation last week.  It was exactly what I was hoping for on so many levels.  Memorable.  Happy kids.  Lots of pictures.  The Train Museum, panning for gold, one-room school houses, huge fireworks, s'mores, lakes, miles and miles, BREATHTAKING vistas of the back side of the Sierra Nevada mountains that I've marveled at from this side for years without remembering from childhood trips what they looked like from the back.  

And yet...  in spite of everything going so well and being so delightful, I wrestled.  
IT. IS. SO. HARD. FOR. ME. TO. RELAX.  I would wonder and ask you if I am the only one who has trouble resting on vacations, but I know I'm not.  Even when we were out there and the wrestling match was in full swing, I read these words written by Emily:  
No matter where you go, the list-making, future-looking whir will follow you. You can sit outside a bakery on a street in Paris and be miserable for all the noise in your head. You can watch the calm ocean waters and the deep blue sky as they mock you with all their peace and quiet. You can breathe in the deep mountain air right along with your worries. It isn’t the place that brings peace.
So I know I'm not alone.  This particular time, there were several factors feeding into my restlessness.  I've had several painful "buttons" "pushed" recently and there has been a wave of emotions triggered because of it.  And being on vacation gives me all sorts of time for the emotions to surface.  I read something else the week before our trip about how people are often unprepared for the sense of grief and loss that often surfaces during sabbaticals.  I get that.  I know I can be so busy with life and work and serving and ministering and playing that in a way, I constantly anesthetize the pain in my life.  It's not that that's always bad...  but when the pain is finally felt...  well, I typically want to run away.  Turn on the computer and wander around Facebook or read other people's blogs or watch TV.  But this last week that wasn't really an option. 

Still, I tried not to face the feelings that were swelling under the surface.   I fought them, attempted to suppress them, and I stayed busy washing the few dishes we had to wash and taking care of the kids and arranging sleeping bags in the tent and whatever else - just about anything but get away by myself for a while with God to work on whatever was bothering me.  

My heart eventually calmed down.  With a few good chunks of time with God and a couple of good conversations with Lowell, I was actually able to thoroughly enjoy the last few days of our trip.  I've also learned a few more things about myself and some of my tendencies - as well as what helps to relieve the emotional pressure when it starts building.

One of the things I've concluded is that like curvy roads make me carsick, transitions in life make me not feel so well.  eMotion sickness or something like that.  : ) And just like I'm the only one in my current family who gets sick on the curves (PRAISE GOD!!!), I react differently to transitions than the rest of my family does too.  And just like it hurt me like crazy when I got my ears pierced even though some people hardly feel it, other things in life hurt me more than they hurt other people.  

BUT how funny is it that even though I almost didn't get my second ear pierced because the first one hurt so much, I gave birth to two babies without any kind of drugs???   Ahhh...  well, I think the rest of this story is going to have to wait for another blog post.

I noticed when I was typing "wrestle" up there that the word REST is right in the middle of WRESTLE.  Funny, isn't it?  : )  May you, too, learn how to REST even in the middle of whatever you may be wrestling with.  Go to Jesus...  He promises to help you.  (Matthew 11:28-29)  And you, too, will find rest for your soul.

1 comment:

  1. aw, Melissa...

    I don't know about Lowell but I do know transitions are hard for me, too... For the kids, it's probably more adventure than anything, although I'm sure they'll grieve in a different way. Also, maybe you are like me in that you grieve during and before the event, while other people "wait" til it actually happens! :) I grieved for a whole year before moving back to Ecuador... and it took me FOREVER to get out of school this year... finish up and LEAVE... so I DO understand the difficulty in resting also...

    I thought of the word wrestling and Jacob wrestling with God... I think even in our wrestling God finds us... and we'll wrestle long enough until we find our "weak spot"- his ankle- and surrender... I think that it represents our vulnerability...

    Glad you found the way of dealing with it because I know if I dont it comes out in other ways...

    be patient with your grief... I think the problem/opportunity with grief and transitions is that they bring to the light griefs from the past we haven't resolved also... and that brings pain too... so we escape from both.

    hope this encourages you, as it is doing me, this week:

    Even if the mountains were to change location, and the mounts were to come down, my love for you will NOT change, nor will my peace covenant come down, says the Lord who has compassion on you (Isaiah 54.10, my paraphrase and emphasis).





Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart with me.