Finding rest in troubled times Print
Everyday Faith
Thursday, Jul. 02, 2020 -- 12:00 AM

Like many people, I've been getting little sleep these days, pondering the troubles plaguing the world.

Amidst tumultuous times, finding a way to rest a while is imperative -- for mental health, for the strength to care for one's family.

Rest can be as simple as going for a walk, spending time in your yard, having a cup of tea, writing in a journal, talking to a friend over the phone. Whatever form it takes, rest needs to carve out for you some time and space to clear your mind and breathe.

Finding rest

For me, rest comes in the form of kayaking down local creeks and rivers.

Dipping our paddles quietly as we skim across the water, we can easily get lost amid the trees and marshland that surround us.

Through the meandering waterways, red-winged blackbirds flit from cattail to cattail. With guttural calls, tan sandhill cranes protect young ones in their nest. Frogs jump from the banks and plop out of sight underwater. Turtles as big as dinner plates sun themselves on rocks, while shadowy fish dart under our boats.

It is quiet here, in nature. Here, I can take in God's beautiful creation. Here, I can rest.

Of course, kayaking with my family is not always exactly restful. Like the time a bold frog jumped directly into my daughter's kayak, and she screamed. Like the time my husband fell in the creek twice. Like the time we hit some rocks in a swiftly flowing river and swamped our kayaks and had to huddle on shore, hastily grabbing floating hats and paddles and sandals.

But those times pass by like a summer storm on a sunny day.

"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest," Jesus promises us. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11: 28-30).

Teach your children

Teach your children to spend some time with Jesus when your soul needs rest. He is there, waiting in the tabernacle, waiting in the Eucharist, waiting in your heart. We have only to desire to seek Him.

"Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you," Jesus said. "For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened" (Matthew 7: 7-8).

Amid the swirling torrents of our life's wilderness, it is Jesus alone who can provide the shore of safety, the only respite that will bring the peace for which our restless souls yearn.

Seek Him then, when you need rest, and your soul will be soothed.

Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.