Wheels’ work schedule includes 12 hours each on Saturday and Sunday, the days people normally get together with friends and family, go to movies and church, and relax. If we aren’t careful our lives become nothing but work – work at work, work at home, all day every day and half the night. We have to be intentional about building in time for rest and renewal, reflection and rejuvenation. Usually we get a few hours here and half a day there, our daily half hour walk. When I saw a story in the local newspaper about an unusual garden tour, we decided to set aside that entire day for us – no phone, no computer, just leisurely taking in whatever the day would bring.
A big breakfast started the day. Yes, that is dessert! Who said you can’t have dessert for breakfast on a special day?
We drove an hour and a half to our destination, through quiet country side dotted by small towns. A beautiful day of sunshine and rare blue sky! The GPS didn’t lead us through the town near our destination but surprisingly wound us through beautiful hills the “back way’. And then, we were there. Seventy-five acres of rare conifers, glorious art and beautiful landscaping tucked in amongst the rolling hills. Mr and Mrs. Schnormeier, owners of the Jeld Wenn Company, open their private gardens near Gambier, Ohio to the public once a year, free. The gardens are beautifully planned, meticulously executed and well worth the trip – even if you live further than an hour and a half!
It was truly a day of renewal . . . a sabbath. Sabbath is often thought of as a religious tradition, but it actually is much more. It is a time set aside for rest and relaxation, yes. Everyone needs down time of some sort. There are sound psychological reasons to stop our busyness, to slow down and change our activity. We stop what we are doing to read a magazine, talk with a friend, check out our favorite blog, pin a few on pinterest (anybody ever actually do a few?). If we work in solitude, we seek out other people; if we are talking to people all day, we seek solitude. Weekends are often just a longer time frame allowing us to pursue different activities than we do otherwise, but we are never far from from being scheduled and “busy” and productive. Still those kind of breaks are great. They help us avoid burnout from daily life.
Less spoken of, is the fact that we also need a time in which we stop producing and just enjoy that which has been created. We all have a long to-do list on paper or scrolling in our heads. Lay down the list, stop the scroll! Savor what has been accomplished. Admire your handiwork – the pile of laundry folded, the bills paid, the sleeping children, the weeded garden. Give yourself credit for what you have done. Give credit to others in the family for what they have done. Does wonders for everyone’s morale!
If we can check out of our own world completely for a while and celebrate life, the benefits are deeper. Some do this with daily meditation, others with weekly worship. We can also do this with a relaxation break – a cup of coffee and just staring into the garden, beautiful music that brings us pause. Sometimes people plan entire vacations, to “just be alive” somewhere different. We may not have that luxury, but a bit here and there is entirely doable! I hope you can find something near you this summer, that gives you the gift of renewal! In the meantime, here is a mini break – four minutes of music and beautiful gardens to explore! Take time for yourself, to renew your spirit and rejoice in beauty. May it remind you to search for these moments, no matter how small, in your life!
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