Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (Mark 6:31 NLT)
Have you ever been that busy? Busy like Jesus with so much going on that you don’t even have time to eat? I sometimes get to the end of the day so hungry. My husband asks, “Did you forget to eat again? How can you forget to eat?” “I don’t know. There was a lot to do and I just forgot.” Sometimes I don’t notice that the tank is empty until it is well past empty.
One of the greatest gifts in my life is the time that I get to spend with parents who are raising children with special needs. We learn so much from each other as we share stories about life with our kids and support each other through all kinds of challenges. As the holidays approach I found myself thinking, what can I give these parents? What do they need most?
What they need most is time away at a quiet place. They need their tanks filled. They need respite. They need to recharge their batteries before the hectic time of year with holidays, changed routines, and many more expectations that come with the season.
It wasn’t too hard to figure out what they need, but it took a bit more thinking to come up with how to give that gift. Then an amazing coincidence (also called a God sighting), a friend offered the use of her home in the country. It is one of those beautiful places like a picture postcard with rolling hills, trees older than my great-grandparents, and peaceful solitude that is so elusive in the city. What a welcome retreat!
We spent the day looking into ways to engage in spiritual, emotional and physical self-care. We took time for meditation, explored scripture, took the temperature of our emotions, and relaxed by the pool with some late afternoon yoga to burn off the ice cream our hostess surprised us with from the local creamery. It was a perfect day away and I was still giggly happy days later.
There is no shame in needing time away. Even Jesus took time away in a quiet place to rest. Perhaps that was the key to him and his disciples keeping up with so many obligations. I know all of us who took the time for our mini-retreat are entering the busy holiday season with renewed energy, feeling peaceful and centered. My prayer for you this busy holiday season is that you too can carve out time for yourself for a few hours rest, finding peace to renew your soul. And if during your time of renewal you just happen to have your tank filled with a scoop or two of BlueBell peppermint ice cream that will just make it all the sweeter.
Holy God, I thank you for the way that you renew and refresh. Help us to remember in the midst of this season to find peace and nurture in you. Amen.
Photo “Ice Cream Time!” by Lorna Bradley