Rest like a Backbone


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I think I have always copy and pasted my Sunday school, dressed up, hand raised answer to the question of rest. But lately I've starting thinking about a different kind of rest. A rest that feels more like a backbone, strong and unmoving, propping me up. A rest that pulls me out of the the depth of my head when I get a little lost there in anxiety. A rest that works a little like wire-rimmed glasses, a nostalgic, focused, old but good kind of rest. 

I have spent much of my life broken and picking up the pieces. And the side effects look an awful lot like distraction. A lot like dropping the pencil I'm holding, forgetting the poem on the tip of my tongue, dropping to the ground and frantically gathering the fractured bits littering the floor, ashamed and glancing over my shoulder to make sure I get all the pieces before someone sees. I want to fix the pieces together in a kind of sloppy disguise, instead of letting them all sit there and stare unblinkingly into the faces of strangers, instead of letting me be me with my broken parts exposed.

It's constant, this running from one problem to the next, trying to solve each, spending and spinning myself into exhaustion. Gathering pieces and gathering pieces. Panicking over what someone thinks of me, what they meant when they said, what they posted. 

I've been spending the limited time I have, wanting what I don't. And it's not fulfilling. The more I live this distracted kind of half life, the more I catch myself waking up to grey skies, the more I slip into this melancholy kind of living, the kind where I want to sleep an extra hour, not because I'm tired, but because I'm not ready to drag myself into the world. 

Writing has always saved me. It's always pulled me out of depression, driven me to leave the pieces where they fell. But distraction has kept me too busy. It's kept me purposeless, wasting time. I've been wallowing in consuming and never creating. I'm been forgetting what freedom tastes like. 

I declared 2018 to be a year of rooting out the things that have me distracted. Saying no to the exhaustion that comes from spending my life picking up pieces. I'm declaring it to be a year where I let my broken display itself on the floor. A year where I leave it. I’m pulling back the curtain and pushing back lies. Easy and light. Gentle and humble. Rest for the weary and burdened.

It's only a distraction, what they said, what they wrote, what they posted, or even what they thought. All that's lifegiving is that I listen to the voice calling me into healing, into laying it all down at his feet, into a settled kind of adventure where I am exhausted by the good things: the wildness, the abundance, the freedom. I want to be exhausted by that poem, that art, that passion.  And I'm learning that rest and exhaustion go hand in hand. Exhaustion from pouring out and letting go feels a little like rest. Somehow it's filling and focused. Somehow it's freedom. 

And I feel it. I feel the discipline, the purpose. It's been productive and good. Something like rest, like gentle, like humble, easy, light.