Work and Play
I’ve had the privilege of doing pretty much nothing this week. I’ve been reading, relaxing, spending time with my husband and enjoying the birds tweeting every morning as a nice replacement for the usual sound of sirens. It’s been blissful. It’s also been just about long enough to remind me that, as nice as it is, life cannot and should not continually be about this. By ‘this’ I mean, making it as comfortable as possible and adopting an 'us four and no more’ mentality. It’s reminded me about the importance of stability.
You see, if we live to work and spend every waking moment ensuring that the books balance or that the marking codes are all stuck in the front of their English books, we’ll end up resenting… everything. We’ll essentially just wish we were in a cottage somewhere, doing nothing, seeing no one and having no impact. That’s what some people do, in fact. Work until burn out, depression, anxiety, stress, injury hit them and then draw a line in the sand and quit. Wasted potential. The work they were doing (without breaks) meant they could never see family and friends because they were always 'too busy’ and now family and friends visit them and they’re never the same. Too tired, too stressed, too depressed to see anybody, do anything. Apologetic and 'less than’. All because they never gave themselves a weekend. Some time to recuperate and relax. Time to drink in a lie in or a late night. Rest is important for this reason.
Rest is also important for our work. Now, after my week of nothing, I want to do stuff, see people, write poetry, heck, even mark some books and plan some lessons. Because I’m looking at rest for what it is. Not just time out from reality, not time to forget responsibility, say YOLO and get wasted, but time to recharge. As a Christian, the time to spiritually recharge is essential. Jesus did it, and encouraged His disciples to do the same. (Mark 6:31) We read later in this passage that Jesus had compassion on some people 'who were like sheep without a shepherd’ and taught them etc. Had He not rested and understood a time to be away from people and from responsibility, He may not have been quite as compassionate. Okay, I wouldn’t have been quite as compassionate. I would have been grumpy. Maybe begrudgingly helped out and moaned about it or just done as little as possible in the hope that no one would notice.
If we live in a state of permanent leisure and comfort seeking we will be ineffective because we’ll selfishly not want to give of ourselves because that might mean losing something. Time, money, energy. We’ll just seek more pleasure and more comfort, which will inevitably never be enough because, let’s face it, what celebrity have you recently read of saying “I have enough money and success now. I’ve got quite enough luxury cars and holiday homes, thanks very much.”? If we live in state of permanent busyness and work we’ll be ineffective because we’ll never have time for loved ones, we’ll do what we do resentfully and perhaps even end up burning out and throwing in the towel. The importance of balance and stability is crucial.
You may ask why 'being effective’ even matters. In his book of the Bible, James talks about faith without deeds being dead. (Read it here). We will not be effective in work and deeds if we are doing it from a place of contempt. Equally if we just think that doing something good would be a nice idea but never get around to actually doing it because we’re too tired etc, then all we’ve done is have a nice idea. The cycle continues. If you’re of the Christian faith, Jesus is your perfect example. Look to Him. (Hebrews 12:1-2).
I know that people know all of this this in theory. Me too. But I’m not sure if as many practice it. Me included. So perhaps this will serve as a welcome reminder. If you’re able, have a wonderful, restful bank holiday weekend and try not to hate Tuesday quite as much, when you’re back at your desk.