rest: noun – an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity
relax: verb – make or become less tense or anxious; rest or engage in an enjoyable activity so as to become less tired or anxious
I’m writing about it again! Ha ha – because for me writing about it is doing it! I’ve said it before: writing is so therapeutic, I enjoy it so much, it really helps – and for me that fits the definition of relaxing! Even pouring out the ‘not so nice stuff’, as I said yesterday… sorry if it’s uncomfortable to read – but hey, you don’t have to read it 😉
This week I made it to the end of term, our last French class of Year 2 – and the last night with our fab French teacher, who is giving up evening work. I’m sure I have improved a lot, my confidence is a little better (un peu) and I have learned the future tense – but I have to say I am relieved it’s over and I won’t be putting myself through that supreme effort to get myself out of the door every Thursday evening to ‘go back to school’ for Year 3. A bit lazy? Yes… but it’s also choosing rest – ie, not to exert myself when my ‘inner muscles’ are worn out – never mind my old brain! Pas d’effort – no exertion, strain or stress: time to rest.
This happened with singing too, especially acutely at Christmas with all the concerts going on. It’s a fun activity, but even fun can become effort, too much busyness intruding on your private space. I’m sad about it – in fact I miss singing and want to start having lessons again! The exercise is good for you, like going to the gym: not like all that difficult thinking and brain activity necessary for foreign language learning! Plus the group dynamics are enjoyable in an adult education group and I’ve made some new friends, so surely all these things are ‘good for one’, staving off depression and isolation? But of course it’s the balance that’s needed, especially as I feel such a hunger for silence and solitude these days, even just time alone with my thoughts and my Mac… oooh, perhaps I’m turning into an introvert! Remember ‘the good is the enemy of the best’ and ‘less is more’ and all those other aphorisms?
The whole of Thursday was crazy, a red letter day, the height of stress. There was nothing we could have done to avoid it – just grateful to find the grace to go through it. By the end of the day finishing French was like crossing the line in a race! But the goal has been attained, JESSA IS HERE: she can look after Sam now!
We drove the 2 hours up to the airport at 7am, already anxious enough, and stood for ages waiting for her to come through. Then we were called over the tannoy and Sam had to go to the phone and tell their story to the immigration officer: it was touch and go while he decided whether he was actually going to let her into the country! We simply prayed fervently for favour and held our breath! What a relief when he said he’d let her through… How would any of us have coped if she had been turned back? After all Sam’s plans and hopes and her courage and resourcefulness to get over here – after the promise of the cavalry coming to help us… ?
But she is here, bless her – welcome Jess: the long journey reaches a point of no return. We are shattered and utterly spent, but now the line is crossed I can really let go and seek rest, recognising the toll that has been taken on us, the exhaustion and stress of getting this far, but knowing that relief has finally come, for us and for Sam.
Because this is all about Sam! Sam is the unavoidable tension, anxiety, strain and stress in our lives; coping with his disease and his personality and his choices and him being here all the time and the impossibility of escape… managing as a mother facing all the uncertainty and pain, and trying to keep my distance. I know many other people face difficulties, stressful jobs, sickness, tension in relationships – I am not the only one. But I am the only one I am responsible for… Others may have even worse challenges to face, but none of us can do it for someone else. So please don’t tell me off for expressing negative feelings or trying so painfully hard to do the right thing as wife and mother: you try choosing rest in these circumstances! Just pass the sleeping tablets! 😉
But seriously, it’s not as if I don’t know I need to look after myself and haven’t been trying to do that: its just not that easy when you are surrounded by the needs of the family and jobs that simply need doing! Choosing correctly is paramount, finding grace for what has to be done and peace to make it through to the next quiet hour. “I’ll just unload the dishwasher and then allow myself a coffee break before planning dinner”: it’s just gotta be done. But even Martha and Simon Peter’s mother-in-law get a break for needing some input or being under the weather!
No, I mean it, I really am going to rest now. Let them sort themselves out upstairs – even if they don’t eat. At least he’s happy, not lonely anymore – in fact he’s really happy! It is such a relief, as if a load has been lifted… So, come on, I’m going to do what I want to do and not do what I don’t want to do and not sweat it. I’m going to stop ‘all strenuous and stressful activity’ and simply enjoy myself. Martin is currently enjoying his rest – discovering the joy of living from the inside out, no computer activity for nearly 2 weeks, not being dictated to by a screen and having to respond to every external stimulus: 2 weeks away in Brittany should help us both to switch right off!
At least I can give it a try!