There's something about the rain, especially during rainy season in Costa Rica that forces you to pause, take a deep breath, and take a nap... daily. I walked home in the rain today without an umbrella and after a minute of frustration, I just took off my shoes and looked up and smiled and did a little dance and enjoyed the walk up my hill in the pouring rain. It was refreshing. I think my neighbors were probably thinking I am a crazy gringa... well I am.
I've had a lot of responsibility this year. A lot of children I am responsible for teaching a lot of things, a weekly art class for adults, a church, community, and friends I am invested in, a family I love and try to keep up with, close friends at a long distance, and a personal art practice and slowly developing business.
When a friend of mine was praying for me about a month ago, she said she sensed I had gotten too responsible. She said she felt like God wanted me to just take a deep breath. To just open up my heart and lungs and breathe and dance and let all the tangled parts of it loose. She said that it may just look like doing the same things I am doing but with a renewed enjoyment. She shared an image of me singing, drawing, and painting just out of sheer delight, just because I love to sing and draw and paint, and not because anyone expects me to or is paying me or counting on me to teach them to do these things.
A theme that has come up a lot lately through multiple venues is rest. It's caused me to wonder what exactly that is. Rest - to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
I was sick last week and forced to rest. I got stung by a wasp and fire ants and had an allergic reaction and was taking a medication that made me so sleepy. On top of that I had stomach and headaches that would not relent. I spent my evenings and the weekend really resting. I just laid in my hammock, listened to music, read books, painted, and made lots of sketches. I slept and made pancakes and smoothies and shared some time with my neighbors, but not much else. I was maybe a little bored, but in the best way. Honestly I love being bored. It is fuel for my creativity. I love adventures too and I thought about adventures I could be taking and saw pictures of my friends chasing waterfalls and concerts yet I was just completely satisfied in my cozy little apartment. This time felt like a deep breath for me. A really deep exhale of all the negative energy I'd been holding and a profound inhale of all the positive.
I am really thankful for this and want to live and work out of a place of rest. I feel a better, more natural, healthy, happy flow to everything I do when it comes from a place of rest, not striving. I need to feel joy in all I do. I aim to live this way. I pray it is possible to maintain a deep breath constantly in my lungs so I can live and breathe and have my being in peace.
I hope you can live this way too, and if you aren't, take a deep breath right now and read this Psalm and quote and go take a nap in a hammock on the beach and breathe.
Psalm 23 The Message (MSG)
A David Psalm
23 1-3 God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
4 Even when the way goes through
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C. S. Lewis