Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lent: Rest

It came to pass in the days of Pen-y-Cat that the lady had need to send a messenger to her kinsman Ludd. So she met with her best courier, and they consulted together about the best way for her courier to take.

The need was urgent, and so they decided that he would take a shortcut through the wasteland. It would be a difficult journey, one where he was certain to face wild beasts and one where his endurance would be tested, but it also would cut a week off his journey.

Soon after he entered the wasteland, the messenger became aware that he was being followed by a creature like his shadow. It moved when he did, stopped when he took his rest and always stayed at the limits of his sight so that he could never engage it nor quite be rid of it. As darkness fell each day and compelled him to stop for the night, the messenger would gather what wood he could find, and build a fire to keep the creature at bay. He heard it draw closer in the darkness, but still beyond his clear sight. It had all the patience in the world.

It was on the fifth day since he entered the wasteland, as the sun was almost directly overhead, that the messenger came upon an oasis. There he bathed in a pool of water to refresh himself, filled his canteen with clean water and ate some of the fruits that grew there. He ran the bare soles of his feet over the grass, stretched out on the ground, and rested. Out of the harsh glare of the sun, his eyes relaxed and he took his rest. Within minutes and without intending to, he fell asleep.

When he woke, the sun was low in the horizon. The morning had gone and taken the afternoon with it, and now the evening was well on its way. The shadows were growing long, and in each one was the perfect hiding spot for his foe, which was now so close that he could measure time by each breath it foe took. He didn't need to see it to know that it was smiling with satisfaction.

Rest is a mercy of the Almighty. It is there to revive the flagging spirit and to renew our strength when it is almost gone. Taking our rest isn't just a luxury; it's an obligation to ourselves and to those around us.

But rest poses a danger too. Stay too long in the oasis and you can lose sight of the mission, forget the discipline that carried you through the desert, and blind you to growing danger. There comes a time when we all need to get up, heave the pack back onto our shoulders, and carry on.

Copyright © 2017 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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