I treasure the times when the pace of life slows. It was spring in DC when I attended a 3 day conference. The air was fresh with the smells of spring. Mary Pipher was the keynote speaker and one of her comments has ever since fixed itself in my mind. She said that as a society we are often tyrannized by our calendars; that many times our clients need therapy for their schedules. There was nothing inherently profound about this, but it stuck with me because it spoke to my reality.
The same thought came to me the other day while talking with my client George. He and I have been working on maintaining his recovery and noticing that when his schedule was busiest he was most prone to relapse. His work became busier at certain times of the year, he’d attend less meetings, become less intentional and more robotic about his tasks, and end up with a beer in his hand. In his busyness he stopped taking care of himself and relapse was the consequence.
At the height of one the busiest times George’s car taught him a lesson, a lesson we all need. His auto developed a curious problem. It would run for 20 minutes, then stall. But after a few minutes start up and run for another 20 minutes. His commute, however, was 30 minutes. Until repaired his car would break down each time he attempted his commute. He decided to drive 15 minutes, then stop at a park along the way, take a stroll, pray, or read the Bible, then get in his car and complete the commute. As time went on he realized he really enjoyed these breaks, and he felt better.
So here are a few thoughts to reflect on:
- The psalmist wrote: "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24). Look around you at the natural beauty of the world. Every inch of it was made by God. Rejoice and be glad for it.
- In the book of Proverbs it says, "It is vain for you to rise up early and retire late, to eat the bread of painful labor, for he gives to his beloved even in their sleep." (Psalm 127: 2) When he overworks my friend's wife tells him, "he gives sleep to his beloved, so stop working and go to bed!"
- Jesus knew the busyness of work, but would withdraw from the crowd to pray and rest, in the early morning to pray (Mark 1:35), or on a boat ride to sleep (Mark 4:38). Jesus took time away from the busyness, so can you.
- So everything in it's season. A time for hard work, but a time for taking a break as well. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-9) I just read an article calling America the "No Vacation Nation," and this can't be good.
So take breaks. Enjoy the season. Don’t wait, do it now. Make the time. Allow the story of a broken car to influence your schedule.