After four months, Marty has returned from his time of rest and relaxation. He’s traveled across America and recharged his batteries, and now he’s ready to buckle down and get back to work. Well, maybe after the weekend.
Not everyone can great lengths of time to have a sabbatical, of course, and there is no mark of a life that due to your financial or familial commitments you can’t leave your worries behind. But the idea of letting go of the sense of responsibility for a while so you can relax is an important one. You and I and everyone need those moments where we let it off our shoulders and spend some time enjoying ourselves and the lives we have.
I was thinking about this more this morning about the times that aren’t “sabbaticals,” where you are in the middle of life, and it is a whirlwind. You can’t get a break for a sabbatical—the best you can do is to find some alone time in your reading room. And then I read this great line, that sometimes we spend too much time trying to calm the seas when we should be trying to stop the wind.
We get pretty involved in life, and it can seem like a roller-coaster. It’s ups and downs, you’re moving quite fast, and you hope that at the end there’s something soft to slow you down before you go past the final point. We look at the waves and think if we could just tamp them down it might go better, so we do what we can to reduce them—we push down things that are disturbing us, trying to keep things smooth and undisturbed, but underneath the waves are still struggling to get free. We don’t account for the wind that blows and tries to stir things up. Trying to smooth the waves is hopeless—they’ll come right. You have to find a way to stop the wind—or if you can’t, get out of the wind.
Now, the wind and the waves are symbols, of course. The wind is all the things that run through our lives—entertainment, people, responsibilities, tasks—whatever it is that pushes you along. Those things, that wind, are what causes the waves to rise up.
It can be hard to grapple with these things. Sometimes we think that if we didn’t have these things in our lives we wouldn’t have a life. How could we handle not having a cable subscription, for example—we’d miss out on good things. Yes, and you’d maybe miss out on much more which is distracting you or is telling you things which are not true or just keeping you from doing what you need to do. (Note: I am not saying this one thing is wrong or right. I’m just saying that it can be a source of wind, so try to recognize that.)
But if we are being tossed by waves and desiring a time of rest, maybe we could look to see where the wind is coming from, and seek the one who calms the waves by stopping the wind.
I’m just suggesting we look at ourselves honestly. If we want to have a time of rest, we have to be willing to have the wind stopped.