Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
~Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman
Covenantal theology doesn’t just say that we become human through our promising, but also we become human when we break those promises, and yet somehow find ways to reconnect and begin again – when we repair the relationship because we know we need each other – even when we think the other isn’t doing enough – even when our partner is annoying us, or isn’t listening well, or isn’t doing things the way we want them done – even then – when we realize right then, that we are still partners, and we can’t give up – and so we return, and begin again – it is this beginning again that is what it means to be human.
~Rev. Gretchen Haley
When we live without listening to the timing of things, when we live and work in twenty-four-hour shifts without rest – we are on war time, mobilized for battle. Yes, we are strong and capable people, we can work without stopping, faster and faster, electric lights making artificial day so the whole machine can labor without ceasing. But remember: No living thing lives like this. There are greater rhythms, seasons and hormonal cycles and sunsets and moon rises and great movements of seas and stars. We are part of the creation story, subject to all its laws and rhythms.
When I have no more mass than a leaf dead on the branch, still this is enough for the earth to find me. She reaches for what little I have and says, stay… Press the soles of your feet back into the ground you sprang from. Feel the weight of your body and know that it is glorious. You are born of soil and sun, and all the heaviness of the earth is a call to you. The earth is reaching for you. Reach back. Reach back.
A good rest is half the work.
Anyone can slay a dragon, she told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.
The thing is to love life, to love it even when you have no stomach for it, and everything you’ve held dear crumbles like burnt paper in your hands, your throat filled with the silt of it… Then you hold life like a face between your palms, a plain face, no charming smile, no violet eyes, and you say, yes, I will take you, I will love you again.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too.
There is deep power in taking a break, honoring your body and actively participating in your deprogramming from grind culture. We have been brainwashed to be violent towards our own bodies by pushing it to exhaustion… Rest is a form of resistance because it disrupts and pushes back against capitalism and white supremacy.
So often I assume that I am indispensable… Even if my body and spirit are asking for a break… But if I power through, I am not leaving room for guidance of the spirit… It’s a leap of faith to be authentic and honest, rather than ignoring the messages of body and spirit saying, “I’m tired” or “this doesn’t feel right” and powering through. It requires faith that we are not alone- faith that we are part of a web of community larger than ourselves. Can we have faith that if the spirit is truly calling us to do something, spirit will help make it happen like a stream helps the paper boats that children set on the water and release?…
~Rev. Darcey Laine
(Curated and adapted for KUF from the 2020 Soul Matters materials for the theme ‘Renewal’ by Rev. Beckett Coppola.)