Rest is a funny thing, at least for me. Knowing that I had 8 days of holidays awaiting me, it was honestly difficult to get through everything I needed to last week. It's no secret that I've been tired - the last few months have been among some of the busiest I've ever had in terms of schedule and responsibilities. It comes with the territory I suppose, but I'll also readily admit that the busier I get the worse I get at organizing my time, which obviously compounds the end effect of my busyness. Anyway, main point is that I needed some time off, and I needed it badly. The funny thing is, besides obviously gaining some extra sleep, the most relaxing things I have done in the past 8 days have involved being with people. There's been lunches with old Cedarwood campers who I've been to busy otherwise to spend time with. There were two different dinners with friends from church and their kids, both extremely enjoyable and uplifting to my spirit. There's also been time with family, the reason I took these holidays when I did, as my brother and his wife and kids are in town from Edmonton this week.
In a purely physical sense, young children are not restful! They tire you out like crazy, and yet the joy they return makes up for it and more. I hadn't seen my niece and nephew in over a year and a half, and in that time a second niece was born as well back in November. I'm so thankful for the technology we have these days, because due to occasional webchats, etc; the kids knew who I was. I mean, my oldest niece is almost 5 so it's not like she would have forgotten, but it was sure nice for my 3 year old nephew to kinda know who I was. Anyway, the first day I saw them was Monday, and they were still quite tired from the drive the day before. However, today was another story. As soon as I arrived at my parents place where they are staying I became Uncle Ben the story teller. My niece would hand me a pile of stuffed toys and action figures, and I'd have to name them all (and then remember the names) and tell a story while reading off a "script" she wrote which was just lines on a page. It's been a number of years since I honed my storytelling on the fly skills and so it was a good workout for my brain in creativity. It actually took me back to when my two cousins' kids were all younger and I would tell them stories during our family gatherings at Nanny's. Anyway, between that and snuggling with the nephew as we watched treehouse, they kept me busy for the afternoon.
If I simply look back upon these last 8 days, I'm reminded of something very important. Rest isn't about doing nothing. Yes, there are times that everyone needs some down time, and sleep is a wonderful gift that should never be taken for granted, but rest is something bigger than that. Rest for me at least has become those times when I allow the relationships that God has blessed me with to fill me as I strive to fill them as well. There are many people I care for as a result of the direction God has led me in life, butI think I'm starting to understand more and more Jesus's words in Matthew 11:29-30; "Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." Jesus ultimately speaks of salvation from the burden of sin, but this includes the trials of day to day life which we all bear. Yes I know that I will spend eternity with God in the life to come, but I also know that He hasn't abandoned me in the life that I live in the here and now. The people God has put into my life are a wonderful gift, and as much as I pray that I can be a blessing to them, I certainly know that they are to me and God has used them to give me rest when I most need it.