A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

No More Pencils…

Posted on: June 17, 2013

The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush;

he makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,

he provides me with images of stillness,

which restore my serenity.

……………………………………………

He prepares refreshment and renewal

in the midst of activity,

by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility;

my cup of joyous energy overflows.

(from “Psalm 23 For Busy People” by Toki Miyashina, Eerdmans’ Book of Famous Prayers)

The school year wraps up next Thursday.

I had to acknowledge that fact as I sat down to write this post. Mere days remain until my son finishes Grade 7. This week his soccer team competes for the last time, students will enjoy the last (and only) dance of the year, and locker clean-outs will begin, making it all too clear whose lockers will need to be pressure-washed to remove eau de mouldy food and sweaty gym shoes.

Like most other children and youth, my son appreciates the summer break as a time to sleep in and have fun doing what he wants to do rather than following a tight schedule centred on school.

On the other end of the spectrum, I find that hot, humid days with no firm plans are my kryptonite. I find summer…too relaxed.

For people who find multitasking natural or whose family members must pry PDAs or tablets from their hands, resting is hard to do. But Jesus recognized that we need to rest and be refreshed, as this quote shows:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition)

We may not be “heavy laden” in the sense of doing hard physical work; however, our bodies and minds may still be crying out for the rest we won’t give them. Since we may never find the time for rest, we need to make the time if we’re to be effective in fulfilling the work, family, and ministry roles God has planned for us.

So here are some small ways to find rest and refreshment for body, mind and spirit this summer:

picking veggies

Picking vegetables

  • Pray. Take a few minutes in the morning and/or at bedtime to share cares and concerns with God and to be with him.
  • Read something different. Not that non-urgent e-mail, but a magazine or a book. What Should I Read Next? provides suggestions of books to try based on the author or book entered, and this includes recommendations based on Christian fiction and non-fiction titles.
  • Enjoy the harvest. Give thanks for the fresh fruit and vegetables soon to hit the stores and produce stands, and enjoy cooking (or preserving) and eating them.
  • Appreciate the simple things. A swim at the lake. The beauty of a summer sunset. Flowers growing in your garden. Even a faster commute to work, or quiet time while kids are attending day camp or away camp. These are little blessings to enjoy gratefully.
  • Get out and about. Check city and community papers for lists of upcoming events. In Ottawa, this is the prime season for fairs and festivals of all kinds. It’s a great time to explore the city and environs as well as to learn about some of the many cultures represented here.
  • Try something new. All the above suggestions fit in here: try a new author, a new recipe, a new recreational activity, or a festival you’ve never attended. My son is taking a break from piano lessons to try the drums and giving skateboarding lessons a go (which I hope will not involve any breaks). “A change is as good as a rest,” my mother has often said.
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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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