Earth’s crammed with heaven and every common bush alive with God. But only he who sees takes off his shoes. ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
A conversation I had with a friend from work today lit a flame of thoughts in my head. We had been talking about how work could intrude so insidiously into our home and personal lives when I felt called to share with her an unpleasant experience of being pushed to the very edge of sanity by excessive work demands and no effective outlet to vent off that pressure. Imagine my pained surprise when my friend narrated a similar experience. It underscored just how much we were having to endure at our workplace. We talked some more. Soon, I had to leave her company to attend to some tasks.
But something from our shared experiences followed me home.
In the evening, for the first time in more than 2 weeks, I found the heart to go into my garden, even if it was for scant minutes. Work having been so incredibly intense in June took so much out of me. These past weeks, I woke up in the dark of dawn and went to bed each night with lists in my head that left little room for anything else. But the work crush ended for a bit today, and knowing that gave me no small measure of relief and delight. Hence, the late evening scurry into the garden to check on some plants.
As I wet the sun scorched earth to ease the night time sleep of my valiant plants, the smell of awakened soil went deep into me, and I realised how much I needed this aspect of healing and rejuvenation. How much of it work takes from me, from us all. It also took me back to the conversation earlier in the day, and the final words I had shared with my agonized friend,
Take back your rest
Take it back from those who know nothing of the need and beauty of cutting out work after office hours. Take it back from those who think that just because they pay our salaries, that they own us as well.
Take it back from those who know well that rest is important yet grant themselves that gift by denying us ours.
And with that, I gazed up at the evening sky, blue and orange sweeps lingering in the west, reluctant to let go of the day whose hours were close to ending. With June gone to its eternal sleep, I had been wondering about July and what it might hold. A month of memories of loss and grief, it is a month I endure more than I live it.
But now I wonder if my angel has come, as he always does, quietly hidden in the breaths of peaceful breezes and fading sunset flowers. Come to tell me that July is the month of journeying into meadows which offer repose, to intentionally seek the quiet deeps where heaven rests, lying in wait for searching hearts.
Because to find those pockets of heaven and to sink my heart into them is to take back my rightful rest.