The Value of Rest

When I was a little girl – 100 years ago – rest was not a word that was spoken in our house. Idleness wasn’t something that was considered a valid state. If you weren’t occupied you would swiftly be given something to do. Hauling bark to the garden. Or stacking fire wood. If you wanted to avoid something along these lines you ‘made yourself scarce’. My go-to was heading to the woods and climbing a tree. I practically lived in trees until I was 11 or 12.

And as an adult? Well, I’ve lived as I was taught as a child. There have always been lists and things to check off. Sitting around doing nothing is a skill I have struggled to master. Always feeling – whether in my work or my home life – that I needed to generate value. My parents and grandparents would call that ‘earning your keep’. And it’s exhausting.

I have never felt like I should ask something of someone when I could do it myself. That didn’t seem fair. The art of delegation isn’t a natural state for me. I had to learn it in my work and as a parent. Otherwise you undermine other people’s confidence in themselves. They struggle to grow under your tutelage. So you have to let go. But even then, I was still occupied with other stuff. So much other stuff.

So this year of 2020, it’s been a challenging year for all of us around the world. I am not alone in that. But post-Covid in the spring, and now this latest health issue, has seen me struggle with value of resting. Taking the time to just heal and be. I’ve waited for the first sign of feeling better and then pushed beyond it, suffering set backs and further issues. Some of it I’ve done to myself because slowing down feels like giving up. Its how I was raised.

But this time, I’ve tried a different approach and Jeff has helped me get there. Half-joking with threats of taking my cell phone away.

‘You don’t have to justify your existence. You can just stop doing and be.’

I’m not saying it’s been easy but I have tried to embrace that concept over the last few weeks. I’ve tried something new and have stopped and rested – mentally and physically. Sorry if I worried anyone here who is used to hearing all the musings in my head. But the weeks I’ve let other people handle things that I would normally shepherd through or stay on top of has been good for me. And you know what? It’s all worked out. My new visa was approved yesterday – one day after the paperwork was filed. Yes. One day.

And the lawyer I hired in Lugo has been all over working through property details with a seller. I’ve barely had to do anything.

‘Don’t worry, Mrs. Kelli.’ He assured me. ‘I will let you know if there is any concern.’

So the world doesn’t need me right now. Other than to follow Drs. orders strictly, and to slow down. So I’m doing that.

Tomorrow I will make an American Thanksgiving meal for us, not because I have to but because I want to. A chicken (we don’t love turkey) with a Shawarma rub. And persimmon cookies for dessert. Nothing too stressful or straining or dangerous. Maybe this year what I’ll be most thankful for is learning the value of doing nothing. And that perhaps in the midst of this crazy year that’s the biggest lesson of all.

8 thoughts on “The Value of Rest

  • I’ve rested enough and am ready for action! How many more online yoga and tai chi classes can I do, and twice a day strolls around the neighborhood with my dog just doesn’t do it. It’s time to return to Europe, Austria and Portugal in particular. I’m antsy, but who isn’t? Hopefully sometime in 2021 I’ll get out of town. Even a drive into Canada would suffice for the time being, but our borders are closed due to the enormous number of COVID19 cases in the U.S.

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    • Its funny. My husband has taken the past 9 days off. He said today ‘The end to yet another European vacation.’ We didn’t go anywhere but our living room. But since its in Europe, I guess he’s right.’ 🙃


  • Maybe, learning this “really resting” and just “be” for many of us is the true reason, we are confronted with this virus…?!
    I think, for many of us, the enforced break of our daily routine has allow to get to that feeling.

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  • Ah, rest. Not ‘rest while I do X, Y, and Z’ from a resting space. Just rest. Kudos for finding that ability, especially with the challenge of being taught that is just wrong to do. I’m glad you learned it, are healing, are finding your space.

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