There is a story from several years ago about a traveler making an expedition on foot, deep into the heart of Africa. To accomplish this journey, the traveler hired several tribesmen to lead him, accompany him, and help him transport all of his goods. On the first day, the traveler and his companions set a rapid pace. They covered many miles and found themselves significantly ahead of schedule by the time they made camp the first night.
Eager to arrive at his destination, the traveler, pleased with the progress of day one, assumed that a similar pace would be kept on subsequent days. He rose early and prepared himself to break camp so that they could be on their way. To his disappointment, however, no one else was even stirring. After waiting what he thought was a reasonable amount of time, the traveler woke the leader of the tribesmen to inquire after what he believed to be unacceptable behavior.
The tribal leader listened patiently to the traveler’s complaint, and then responded. “Yesterday, we traveled too far and too fast,” he said. “Today we must rest to give our souls the opportunity to catch up with our bodies.”
Have you ever felt that way – like you have traveled too far and too fast, and you need to give your soul – your very self – time to catch up?
There are so many demands on each of our lives that many days, most of us, find ourselves traveling far and fast. There are deadlines to meet, tasks to accomplish, relationships to maintain – or repair, connections to be made, goals to be set and met. Tests. Papers. Projects. Jobs. The list is endless.
For most of us, we literally could go twenty-four-hours per day, and still find more to do. But in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus says to the disciples, after a particular busy time in their lives, “come away to a deserted place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:30-32). Come away and rest. Give your souls time to catch up with your bodies.
Now, I expect that many of you will respond – “yeah, right. Wouldn’t that be nice – come away a rest awhile – I wish!” I expect that you will respond that way, because that is how I often respond.
But before you say that it is impossible, I’d like to invite you to pause for just a moment and think about your day. Can you find five minutes – just five minutes in your day to breathe deeply, to absorb the beautiful colors of autumn, to drink in the changing seasons? Five minutes to come away and rest. Five minutes to give your souls time to catch up with your bodies.
It is a holy invitation – come away and rest awhile. I encourage you to give it a try, and you just might be surprised at how refreshing five minutes can be.
God bless your resting. God bless
your catch up time!
Oct. 8, 2013
Rev. James A. Wetzstein and Rev. Charlene M. Rachuy Cox serve as university pastors at Valpo and take turns writing weekly reflections.