I caught this picture a few years ago while traveling to Europe with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson for a big family reunion. I wanted to paint it and include it in my study on "rest." Traveling across time zones with a one-year-old made for little rest for them. With delays and a tight itinerary, we missed our flight from London to Geneva, so thankfully the airline let us go to a lounge in the airport, where it was quieter and more comfortable, for a few hours to wait. We were able to catch a few zzzz's, which helped. Arriving at our destination, renting a car, getting to our cousin's house, and waiting for a reasonable time to go to bed, we pushed through until we could finally have horizontal rest. I think of moments when my body just has to rest. When I concede and relax I feel my body's response of thank you, thank you, thank you.
Trees have gotten my attention as I contemplate rest. In New England the hours of sunlight decrease as we get closer to winter. The chemical processes in the trees' leaves using carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water slow down and stop. Cellular changes seal in the nutrients to prepare the tree for winter rest. The preparation is evident in the leaves changing color and falling off. I observe that trees can have different colors and timing to change and drop their leaves. Trees have a time of dormancy or rest in the winter. Tree roots continue to be active all year long. Humans benefit from the cycle the trees follow. For example, empty branches allow sunshine to go through during winter and the leaves return in time for when we want shade. Empty trees endure less stress from snow and high winds without their foliage.
What can I learn from trees? Maybe I would do well to shed some things to prepare for rest. My roots can stay active. I want my roots to go deeper into my relationship with God who seems to help me rest. It may not be possible to rest for an entire season, but perhaps a shorter time-- days, hours, or even minutes. Shed some stuff, rest some parts, then when the time comes, restart activities. It sounds good to me.
LeTtiNg iT gO BLoG
Linda T. Hurd.