Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thinking, That's All: The Space of Rest


We all quickly pour ourselves in through the door, breathing out the chaos of the day and inhaling the quiet of the space stretched out before us

Weekly we come together to slow down, to discuss life in this foreign land of busy, seven polar explorers* trying together to navigate the harsh terrain of our over-busy, over-scheduled lives in bodies that weren't meant to pushgopushpushgo.

You know that jar analogy? one of the seven asks, a half smile spread across his face. The one with the rocks and the sand and how if you put the rocks -- the big pieces of life -- into the jar first and then put the sand -- all the small, less important stuff -- in, everything fits?

The rest of us nod, all too familiar with the jar and the overflow of the sand spilling out everywhere and the rocks never all fitting.

It's a lie, he says, spitting out the words like bitter fruit.

I lean my head in to really hear what he's saying, and he continues.

All of that sand, all of those rocks -- you just can't fit it all. Some of that sand, some those rocks just have to go, he finishes, relieved to have spoken up against the prevalent thought that if we just ordered it all right it would fit.

The jar is only so big, someone else pipes in. 

It's true, I say. There's only so much space. 

We sit around this truth like its a fire radiating warmth into cool arctic air, explorers intent on thawing cold noses, hands, hearts that have been captured by numbness.

I know this all too well; time and space have long been rigid squares on the flipped open calendar I'm forever trying to pen my life into.

Thing is, though, just like the jar, all of the life I'm trying to cram in doesn't fit in two by two inch squares.

Just like we can't make the jar bigger, there's no way to add inches to the calendar boxes.

And, the truth be admitted, we weren't made to fill every crevice of time, every inch of the jar until both are overflowing out of control.

Truth be admitted, we were meant to rest, remember every one day out of seven.


It's a  foreign sounding word here in the arctic -- archaic and bound up in thoughts of rules and judgement and nos.

But at its roots in means rest and remember.

After we unlearn all of what it isn't, breathe in a bit of understanding that was lost in translation of restirction and culture and supposed righteousness, what remains seems to be this enormous box with a ribbon.

And all I can ponder is if I'm really going to unwrap it instead of just picking at the paper.

*Annie Dilliard first related our journey here in this time and space to that of a journey of polar explorers who find that they cannot do life alone in such harsh elements. Her short essay appeared in our VantagePoint3 material that detailed what it looks like to live in community. Our group of seven is journeying together through year one of VP3. What we discuss in our groups is sacred, and I sought out permission before publishing from the group member who shared about the jar before sharing here his revelations that have lead to truth in my mind, just to be clear. :)

This piece is a product of our Bigger Picture Blogs Writing Circles, where writers come together virtually to share a work and then offer encouragement while giving constructive criticism while applying benevolent pressure to others in the circle.

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