When the Biblical author, Jeremiah wrote with frustration about his people’s happy talk, he coined a phrase that many still repeat to themselves when faced with injustice: …peace, peace when there is no peace…’ (Jeremiah 6:14) And while this is true, I feel we in our time could use an additional phrase, perhaps something like ‘rest, rest when there is no rest.’
As you know, busy is the word in people’s lives, either as an indication of success or a gauge for relevance, and yet, it is what we all bemoan. I myself, have found it necessary at times to qualify the word in order to put a more positive spin on it. And so, I am the good kind of busy or just busy enough. But really, in response to questions like how are things or are you keeping busy, what I should be striving for, is a genuine and happily expressed, slow or not at all. But where I live, which is probably very similar to where you reside, those answers appear to be indications of laziness.
And so, we tend to do what is just downright ridiculous. We approach our restful seasons, our trips, and our vacations even, with an attitude of frenzy. Summer becomes the new deadline by which I must accomplish all of my very active resting. The European getaway becomes an itinerary that must be met, crossing borders and boarding buses that leave the traveller more tired than when they left. And we are now beginning to talk or at least joke about needing a vacation from our vacations. In short, when we should be recharging we continue to work, but not on things and behaviours that actually reenergize us. And why?
The fear of being idle can be a powerful, human drive. And in a society that has praised functionalism from the first moments of our lives we tend to feel the need to justify our sitting down. But sitting down with no agenda, with no musts or have tos, is necessary for us to be the kind of people we all want to be. Think about it, summer is your friend, not your warden.