Well, I hang my head in embarrassment. After getting al upset because I felt ignored, here I go not even posting for a week or more!
Life. Sometimes I get so busy with living, I forget to have a life!
There’s a group of women here in River City that has started meeting regularly on Sunday mornings to hike on one of the many nature trails in the area. They set it up for Sunday mornings because DP and I have church on Sunday afternoons. Many of them bring their dogs—it’s for fun, not a hard workout for fitness. I went yesterday for the first time, with the dog, Mr. M—DP has gone before. What a blast!
It was cold but sunny, in that Midwestern way, where the wind whips tears from your eyes, which then freeze in the corners of your eyes, and makes your nose run. Lots of people were on the trail, taking advantage of the dry—and relatively warm—weather (one of my friends who has worked above the Arctic Circle jokes about the warm weather anytime the thermometer reads above 0…).
I could just see the beginnings of green on the bark of the willows, and the dogs (not the very height-challenged Mr. M.) were splashing in the ponds and puddles. Even though the breeze was sharp, you could feel spring behind it.
Mr. M. had a great time keeping up with the bigger dogs (Labs and lab mixes), not to mention being allowed off-leash (!! Heaven to canine sensibilities). He’d gallop hard to catch up with the bigger dogs, then glance back to see where we were, and stop to let us catch up, then dash madly off to be with the other dogs again. We walked about 3 kilometres, which is pretty good for a dog with legs about 5 inches long! We had to turn back before the rest, to get home in time to change for church, and Mr. M. was much slower without the other dogs to keep up with! He slept most of the afternoon…
It set me wondering why I let myself be stopped by the memory of how cold it is (or hot, depending on the season), and all the discomforts, when I love being outside so much once I get myself there. In my lifetime, I have loved camping, gardening, hiking, canoeing, and dog training—all of which are best done outside! When I used to garden, I had to have a strict rule against going out to the yard in the morning before leaving for work, because I would get caught up in pulling just a few weeds, or trimming just a branch or a twig there, or checking out the state of the hydrangea… You get the picture. Before I knew it, I was late to work!
Am I really so fundamentally lazy that I don’t want to go to the trouble of getting ready and going to the campground/river/trail/backyard, even though I know I will enjoy it once I get there? Do I feel I don’t deserve it, or that I shouldn’t be wasting time when I could improve my sermon or be meeting with someone or working on worship for Easter? I’m not sure what the answer is, but I really think it’s something I should ponder. Why do I put up false obstacles in the way of my own rest, refreshment, and renewal?
It’s worth thinking about as we enter spring and summer, when it’s so easy for me to get overbooked with weddings, family events, and Pride happenings. Perhaps I need to just push myself more, but instead of pushing myself to work harder, I should be pushing myself to enjoy the things I know I enjoy—gardening, cross-stitch, hiking, canoeing…
It is not a coincidence that I felt more relaxed at church yesterday afternoon than I have felt in a long time. Yes, I was a bit late, and we were rushed to get ready on time…but I felt more relaxed and focused—and it was because of that hike.
Rest and renewal. They aren’t just words anymore—I remember now what they really mean and what they feel like.