Here’s a timely online feature from Comment, “What does rest look like for you this summer?” Comment asks Norman Wirzba, Jacqueline Melissen, Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma, and Marilyn McEntyre “how they are working at rest this summer." All four of the reflections are worth reading.
As someone who thinks that rest is really important (even if I’m not always particularly good at it), I think I’ve got something to learn from the contributors’ emphases on silence, taking short breaks when long ones can’t be arranged, and finding rest in sustained engagement with the world (as opposed to either withdrawal or the restlessness that often characterizes our engagements).
But I have to say that I am most heartened to see one of the contributors mention sleep, which probably should get more attention when we talk about rest. My one approach to rest that seems to pay off is this: Every year, I carve out a couple of extended periods–some time during summer, some time between semesters–in which I make it a rule not to fight sleep. If I’m tired, I sleep. Tired in the evening? Time to go to sleep for the night. Tired during the day? Time for a nap. It doesn’t take long–usually only a few days–before I feel caught up.
I know that not everyone can manage to carve out this kind of time during the year, and there are those who hardly have a chance to rest at all. But for those who are able to put some work into rest, I can recommend this approach.