“When daybreak arrived, Jesus went to a deserted place.
The crowds were looking for him.” (Luke 4:42)
My parents are in the process of selling their home in Wadsworth, Ohio. They moved to the house in 1991 (when I was about to begin first grade), so this is my childhood home. Needless to say I have all sorts of feelings about this even though it’s obviously their home and they are entitled to do whatever they’d like! Plus Maureen and I haven’t lived there in many years by now. Still, it was important to me that Neill and I made this trip to Wadsworth this summer (and thankfully we got to Ohio before it was added to the Travel Advisory List here in Connecticut.) Of course we had to take a picture with my Elon Oak Tree (pictured above), the tree that was planted in the side yard in 2007 as just a little oak sapling after graduating from Elon University (pictured below). It’s just so big and beautiful these days!
The truth is that I needed to be in my hometown with my parents for a few days, in a place that is familiar and comforting. It’s not a “deserted place” like Luke tells us Jesus traveled to in the Gospels, but it’s a place away and apart for me. So much about life has felt new and unfamiliar of late, and it can make us realize once again the importance of cultivating moments of rest for one’s body, mind, and soul. Sometimes we do this by using our vacation days and going away, sometimes by going to the woods or near the water, or intentionally watching the birds in our own backyard, or tending a garden, or watching a sunset on the lake—wherever we go to get some rest for our bodies, minds, and souls.
I’ve come to view moments of rest on the journey not as a luxury, but as a necessity. Who taught us that? Jesus himself. “When daybreak arrived, Jesus went to a deserted place. The crowds were looking for him.” (Luke 4:42) If the Son of God/Jesus the Christ needed to go to a deserted place to get away from it all for awhile, what makes any of us think that we don’t need to do that too? Is this harder in the midst of a pandemic? Absolutely. Though there are safe ways to get rest and we don’t always have to travel far. My prayer for all of us in the midst of these pandemic days is that we are finding ways to take care of ourselves. Please remember that God loves you, you matter, and let’s continue to be kind to one another, always.
(This Week’s Thoughts 7.30.20)