A November to Remember, Verse 2: Of Resting, Wrestling and Lessons

Casey Palmer in the early days of Movember with little but a 5 o’clock shadow upon his visage!

Ask anyone I know, and they’ll tell you that at times I’m totally an overgrown kid. I let my imagination run away with me, I rarely let myself by limited by the concerns that most adults focus on, and believe that life isn’t worth living if it isn’t kept interesting.  It’s hard to get me to sit still if you haven’t given me a task to focus on, and I rather do things until I’m totally wiped out than waste a single moment sleeping.

I don’t wanna grow up — but we don’t stay young forever.

Ain’t Getting Any Younger

Let me tell you a bit about my church.

With a congregation of about 150-200. Black, White, young, old, rich, poor — we cover multiple spectra.

Every year, we go up to the Muskoka, ON area for a church retreat — a weekend dedicated to worship, togetherness, and maybe most important — rest.

One of the big takeaways of the weekend are the encouragement cards we fill out for one another with kinds words and thoughts.

I’ve been 4 or 5 times now, and while I’ve enjoyed it every time, I don’t know whether “restful” is something I’d call it from my experience.

But that could have something to do with my unexpected role as a makeshift babysitter for the church.

Misadventures in Makeshift Babysitting

The upside to this? At least I know my spine is strong.

It’s been going on for too long to remember when it started, but for some years now, I’ve served the role of an unofficial mascot for the kids at church. While I’m not ready to have kids of my own (though to hear most  fathers tell it, who ever is?), I have a huge soft spot for kids. If a child in a stroller waves at me or says “Hi”, I go into instant smiley-face happy mode and do the same back.

Oh God. I’m channelling my mother. Ugh!

Anyway, for the reasons I stated at the beginning, children seem drawn to me. I play their games. I speak to them like equals and not dismiss their ideas. I never underestimate them, as kids are capable of more than you could imagine. And so, out of just about anyone in the church, I’m the one they flock to after the Sunday services.

But after an hour of being chased and pulled around the sanctuary; poked prodded and jumped on; and generally fulfilling my role as a walking, talking jungle gym — I’m exhausted.

There’s another guy who helps out — here’s 14 or 15, and I wish I had his energy. But here I am in a body that’s been well-used these past few decades, and I’ll admit — it needs its rest!

But if I’m in need of a nap after an hour… imagine how I’d be after a weekend???

A Time For Rest

By day: A dining hall for all to enjoy. By night: My refuge to try to scribe some thoughts out.

Apparently, I haven’t quite grasped the meaning of the word “retreat” yet.

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re·treat

[ri-treet]

noun

3. a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy: The library was his retreat.
5. a retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation.
Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/retreat?s=t
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Thinking about my retreat experience and the fact that I’m horrible at finding rest leads me to a question — when’s the last time you had some time to yourself?

I mean really had some time to yourself — spent some time being by yourself and doing what you want to do with your time?

I’d bet that few of us get the opportunity. So many of our lives get filled with so many responsibilities, questions, worries, woes and other such complications that we get very little time to do what we want to do.

That’s part of what I think retreats are for, but somewhere along the line I forget this and keep doing what I always do. Play the role of the jungle gym. Stay up late having conversations with just about everybody. Essentially, do anything but rest.

I Know This is Supposed to Teach Me Something…

There’s a lesson here to learn. One might be that maybe I am ready to have kids and I just don’t know it. Maybe it’s that life is about balance and we aren’t forced to take on every role that’s thrust forward at us. But for me, I think the most important lesson is probably this:

It’s okay to rest. Go get some.

 How about you, readers? Are you overachievers? Do you have kids and knew when you were ready to have some? Think I’m totally off-base? Drop a comment. Let me know. And I’ll let you know if I think you’re wrong 😉

Until next time,

–case p.