How are you? No, really, how are you? Have you been cranky, out of sorts, easily frustrated, quick to raise your voice? Are you impatient? Depressed? Can you think clearly? Are people getting on your nerves? Do you say in your best Marlena Dietrich voice, “I want to be alone?” Before you make a call to your nearest therapist, ask yourself the following question. Are you getting enough rest? I have become increasingly aware that sleep is a very underestimated thing of value in our world today and I believe that’s the cause of many maladies; physical, mental and even spiritual. Is anyone sleeping or even resting anymore?
Back in my parents’ day, life seemed simpler. Dad went to work in the morning and came home in time for dinner with the family. We ate together and he relaxed for a while out in his garden watering the roses and then went to bed well before 10:00pm. Mom cleaned and cooked and sewed but she, too, made sure she went to bed at a decent hour to get ready for the next day. There were no hand held devices to continually check and no computers. There was only TV and radio and their programming completely ended at 11:00pm. Only doctors were on call 24/7. What a difference between then and now!
We have advanced so much technically and the world has become so much smaller. That’s a good thing, I assume. But what are we sacrificing in order to be “on” and available all the time? There are young families with children who have loads of homework, soccer practice, cheerleading, piano lessons and science projects. Some of us have elderly parents or relatives who are less than able to care for themselves and need our time and TLC. We have our jobs, which demand our attention even away from the office. Our inboxes never seem to be empty and text messages come at all hours of the day and night. There are a million tv channels from which to choose with endless news and sports programming. We haven’t even covered general housekeeping duties, grocery shopping and yard work. And have we left any time for prayer?
We’re exhausted. Our society is sick and tired. And we wonder why. My friends, I think we need to put sleep on our calendars. I know we can’t turn off a crying baby but can we turn off the tv, the cell phone and our iPads, even for a few hours a day? Our brains, our bodies and our souls need a break from this frenetic lifestyle. Maybe we can’t get 8 hours of sleep a night but we can take important mental health moments during our busy days. Will we allow ourselves even 15 minutes of healing silence each day?
Because I have personally experienced many of those “attitudes” described in the first paragraph, I have resolved to spend one day a month, or even just a couple of hours of that day to rest, reflect and recharge. I need it and God knows, the people around me know I need it. I want to take time to just be. I long to smell the flowers, to praise God for the brilliant sun and the glorious sky. I want to listen to the rain during a storm and let it soothe my spirit. Honestly, I just want to take a nap sometimes.
What kind of rest brings you peace and healing? And are you taking the time for it?