The other morning, my son and I were sitting on a bench in our mud room. He wanted to “share” a granola bar, so we took turns with our bites. We looked out the window to see if we could spot any birds. My first reaction was- when are we going to go do something. I then began to think about what it would be like to start my day. I found myself getting bored and thinking about what we could actually do. I enjoyed watching Max and our little interactions as he took bites of the granola bar, but just sitting here doing nothing? Then it hit me. I was reminded again of how un-mindful I really am. We didn’t need to do anything, we weren’t wasting time, my day had already started, and it was nice to relax with my son.
When did we lose the ability to do nothing? From time to time, I’ll have a client who is wrapped up in performance. When we begin to unravel that, there is often the knee jerk response- what do I do now? Often, people will come into my office looking for meaning in their lives. What is the point of living?
I’ll never forget when a 14 year old boy sat across from me asking what the point of life was. Sometimes when Christians truly accept grace, they have the same reaction. They have lived their lives trying to earn God’s love and store up treasure in heaven, but what now?
I believe that the reason these questions emerge is because we have lost the true joy of life, doing nothing. At one time, the big event of the farmer at the end of the day was sitting on his porch, rocking in his chair, sipping a drink. But now we need to fill every moment with some kind of stimulus or activity. It is this consent pull to do or be entertained that has left us believing that living isn’t enough. Enjoying the very air we breathe is not enough.
I became very satisfied with my time with my son. I wasn’t in a rush any longer. It was a time to really live and it was great.
We struggle to be still. We struggle to be alone. We struggle to rest. Yes, we struggle to enter into His rest because we are trying to work our way there. And we are simultaneously rejecting rest, because we experience it as punishment rather than a gift. Rest now means watching the TV, exploring the internet, but those are distractions not rest. We aren’t wasting time when we learn to enjoy just being- we’re truly learning to live.