Three Places of Rest for Me

REST was my word for 2011, and, though I have made progress, I am still working on resting.I have discovered, however, that there are places in my life that refresh my spirit and my body, providing a Sabbath experience for me.Three of them, all very different, have restored and revived me repeatedly.

Ride a Horse.

I can’t remember when I didn’t love horses.   My early birthday gifts were usually coupons to ride at Glen Lakes Stables.  My first horse was Diane, a feisty palomino, followed by Dawn, a crazy horse who could easily have killed me.  My college summers were spent teaching riding to 6-12-year-old girls at Merriwood Day Camp.  I loved it!I don’t ride often now, with waning confidence and non-existent gripping muscles to prove it.  But gratefully I have occasional opportunities to put my boots on and saddle up.The moment I settle into the saddle, I’m at peace.  Solace.  Comfort.  Rest.I realize this is not the experience of most, but for me riding is both exhilarating and reviving.  An hour or two on horseback  just exploring creation beauty—it’s always beautiful where I ride, it seems—are better than any spa treatment for me.Riding is Sabbath for me.

Read a Story

I love a good story.  I immerse myself in the lives of the characters of any novel I read.  When I am weary—or discouraged or burdened—I make a temporary exchange.  I trade the exhaustion of my current experience for the adventure of fictional people.In recent years I have often chosen biographies instead, especially the stories of women and men who have surrendered their lives to serve God wherever He sends them.  So challenging and uplifting.I know I can’t employ this kind of escapism to avoid real issues and situations in my life, but I also know that escaping into another story—for a little while—is restorative for me.Reading is Sabbath for me.

Relax at the Beach.

The beach has become my optimum place of rest.  Once or twice a year, I head to the shore for a few days or even a few weeks.I love the sound of the waves, long walks along water’s edge, sunshine.  Those things in themselves are refreshing.But what makes my time at the beach truly restful is what I do there.  I sleep.  I spend lots of time with God—in His Word and on my knees. I listen to what He is saying.  We talk and talk as I walk and walk.  And I read—once I read seven books, but usually two or three.Relaxing at the beach is Sabbath for me. What about you?  What places give rest to your life?c 2011 Judy Douglass