Thursday, August 8, 2019
And God rested…
I have been at Camp Squeah since Sunday at 5pm. When Glen passed away I knew that summer would be difficult so I determined to fill it with things that would give me joy. Camp gives me joy. My boys give me joy. My boys are always at camp so the logical solution for me was to volunteer at least a week at camp. When I talked with Dustin, the summer camp director, I got the regular answer that I was expecting – “We always need volunteers in the kitchen”.
Ugh…No thanks for a few reasons. Right now the kitchen is still a trigger for me. I spent so much time in the kitchen trying to make things Glen could eat and many hours juicing so when I go in the kitchen and try food prep – well – I just don’t want to be there. At all. Also, I have spent decades cooking for family and extended family dropped off at my house so I’m just plain revolting. For now, the least amount of time I spend in the kitchen the better. So I countered with, “How about you allow me to use my gifts instead? I speak, teach and counsel – how about that?”
So, I taught four hours during their staff retreat on anxiety, depression, who we are in Christ and spiritual warfare a tad, and listening/communication skills. The rest of the days I have stayed on as a resource for anyone who needs me. I have been used by the staff here in varying degrees of need of someone to talk to or ask advice from (which I enjoy doing); connecting with the campers a bit (ages 8-9 this week – I forgot how loud that age group is!); and being able to see my boys in action a bit. I even led the staff girls devotional pod at 7:30am yesterday and this morning and enjoyed being there even though I am far from a morning person. And the really good part? Well, there’s a few good parts. One, I don’t have to cook. In fact, I am being absolutely spoiled with different options for food because of my allergies. I even ate tofu. And my own room is handy. When I’m tired I go lie down. When my head hurts really bad I go laser it in front of the mirror (a weird laser trick that helps your cells want to go into place – legitimate chiropractic treatment really!) and then lie down again with a migraine pill. Some of the campers have connected well with me too not even holding it against me that I’m 50! I’m not complaining about time in the pool either. In fact this afternoon I stayed in the pool for a good two hours waiting for the camper group that wanted me to see how well they could swim. It brought me joy. And it made my hands look like prunes for a bit!
While here God has been convicting me about rest. I’m not good at rest but I know that I am in desperate need of rest based on my still exhausted form. I had booked in twenty clients to see in the three days that I was going to be home this August (as I really booked up August with stuff to do). That was just too much alongside horse chores and getting ready to go to Saskatchewan to Glen’s sister and brother in law’s fishing resort along with Glen’s brother and sister in law and all of their families. I’m anticipating that trip to be absolutely amazing and filled with the bittersweet of missing Glen and the boys more than some moments will allow me to bear. It’s been really hard having not only Glen never coming earthly home again, but also having an empty house because the boys are both at camp all summer (Donovan since April). The feeling is akin to everything dear to you being violently ripped from your bosom very suddenly and being left with open bleeding wounds but expected to stand up and get back into the battle with sword swinging and a smile on my face. I’m not sure whose expectations those are but I feel them. Perhaps my own. Only a few have said, “Still not doing well?” I try not to take that to heart! As I’ve mentioned before, grief doesn’t go away with the person. Grief comes in the person’s place and though it changes colors it stays a lifetime in varying degrees moment by moment. That is a normal and natural part of life. But I digress…
Rest. One of my devotionals was the familiar passage that says, “If you know to do something good and don’t do it, that’s sinning.”
Yes, I nod my head silently affirming what that says. In my mind so far it means to reach out, to help when there’s a need, to rarely say no to counselling another person because by the grace of God and with His help perhaps I can be of help. God smiled down at me, graciously and kindly. With love and gentleness He stated the verse to me again. This time He gave me a picture of rest. “If you know to do something good (and that I am telling you to do) and don’t do it,” He said directly to my heart, “You are sinning.”
Bulls eye Lord. Got me. I am really bad at resting. My mind doesn’t rest. My body is restless and jittery. In fact there are many days when it takes will power to sit still in a counselling session and even then I’ve had my observant clients remark on how many times I change position…But at least I’m not shaking my legs rapidly up and down! For me, that’s an accomplishment when the restless leg syndrome hits… So, yeah… really bad at resting.
Then I looked at my overbooked schedule for next week. Twenty clients in three days was five too many. “Cancel it,” the Lord said.
“But!” my heart cried back. “They need me!”
“Oh my child,” He said though not unkindly. “They’re my children. I’ve got them until September. You have just barely lost your beloved and I know the emotional pain that has brought you, on top of the physical pain that has increased since Glen came to my realm. I’ve got them. Now let Me take care of you. Rest.”
That’s pretty hard to argue with. I hope I’m hearing Him correctly on seeing just a few that needed some checks because I don’t want to obey partially. I want to obey fully. My heart is yielded fully and deeply. My body doesn’t always co-operate…
Obedience to rest is perhaps one of the single most difficult things that we who are called to people helping can do. This week and this month, though busy, is one of rest, even in the midst of helping a bit. Feeling useful is something we all need to do. Feeling cared for and rested is a gift. I am praying for each person here with sincerity. I am here if they need me and are able to break away from their duties. In the meantime, I am resting, though imperfectly because I’m not really sure what that means for me yet…maybe, just maybe, I’m learning. By the grace of God go I. What about you?