Friday, July 1, 2011

summer thinkin' - rest and restoration

We are almost on our way to the beach. I mean THE BEACH! Not the swimming pool, not the lake - we are talking N.Carolina ocean front. And I have been thinking about how to manage a home with four families in it, for a week. I have decided that I want to radiate grace and gentleness. That will be my contribution.

Wendell Berry wrote this description of holiday'ers:

"On those weekends, the river is disquieted from morning to night by people resting from their work.
This resting involves traveling at great speed, first on the road and then on the river. The people are in an emergency to relax. They long for the peace and quiet of the great outdoors. Their eyes are hungry for the scenes of nature. They go very fast in their boats. They stir the river like a spoon in a cup of coffee. They play their radios loud enough to hear above the noise of their motors. They look neither left nor right. They don't slow down for - or maybe even see - the old man in a rowboat raising his lines.
The fishermen have the fastest boats of all. Their boats scarcely touch the water. They have much equipment, thousands of dollars worth. They can't fish in one place for fear that there are more fish in another place. For rest they have perfect restlessness."

Even in our holiday time we don't feed ourselves what we are craving so deeply. In all of life this seems to be one of the insanities of humanity. We crave love, and feed ourselves on power. We crave acceptance and feed on vanity. And when we crave sabbath rest, when our souls long to eat in Eden - the smells and tastes of nature - we eat a frenzied feast of excited entertainment.

What would life be if we fed our longing for joy with kindness? If we fed our need for rest with a hand in ours and feet on the grass. I don't know. Maybe we will always seek rest in perfect restlessness. It is the human way.

But this week I am choosing to focus on laughter rather than control. I am going to look for whispers of life and sit where I can hear them. We'll see. I may not make it all the way through in peace but I am starting with this grace and we'll see what happens from there.


Anonymous said...

Oh honey, just let the kids be in charge. They are the ones who REALLLLY know how to prioritize.. get up and have ice cream for breakfast.... go to the beach in your jammies,,, let them 'bury' you in the sand. listen to them laugh. tell them you're bored and see what they come up with...

Keith said...

I like this. You are a professional writer on life.

I liked the thought about fishermen whose boats barely touch the water and move from one spot to another restlessly. I am going fishing in Ontario next week with the men in Eve's family. There will be little rest.

Leslie said...

When I read this I was immediately reminded of the story you told of your evening swim when the tide went out. Hope you are having a wonderful, "throw your cares to the wind" type of vacation.

herschel said...

Marilyn, this was great! Thank you. I hope yall's trip is awsome!