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Why getting enough rest is an act of faith


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Edifa - published on 09/15/20

Admitting that you're tired doesn't mean you're weak.

We fight it, we say it’s not important, we ignore it … We often look down on being tired because we feel guilty about it. Nevertheless, admitting that you are tired does not at all mean you are weak.

We go from work, to activities, to classes, to meetings—we fill up all the open spots in our schedule and set our children to sail on the same boat. Eliminating short pauses will have vital consequences, because resting is not a luxury: it’s a necessity.

Yet, when we justify our need for rest, we often do it with a poorly disguised productivist logic: “I rest a little after work so that I can do more later; I have to re-charge my batteries; a little nap and I’m back at it again, but while I’m resting, I go over everything in my mind.” However, taking a break is not a sign of weakness.

Resting means giving up the illusion that we are omnipotent

Our need to take a break is not just a biological issue. Through rest we recognize that our work is sometimes too much, and is more than just a simple question of how much energy we have. In the family and in education we (along with everyone else who works with us) do not live with machines that have to be turned on and made to work—we live with people. Free people. Taking a rest is a sign that we are able to reject the illusion that we are omnipotent over our own life as well as the life of those who depend on us.

Taking a rest, therefore, means recognizing the freedom of those we work hard for: “It’s true, I have done much for you, but you are not the result of my work, like a car rolling off the production line. You are free, you are capable of more than I can imagine, you can surpass my expectations, take unforeseen roads, do more than everything that I have done for you.”

Open yourself to the work of God

So, why do we so often feel the need to justify ourselves when we take a break? We worry that while we sleep, everything will somehow come undone. We feel guilty seeing others working, seeing them make that great machine—the world—work without our help, as if we actually had the power to do all that.

Yet “while I sleep, something is created in me and in others that doesn’t depend on me.” Naturally,this is a bit humbling: “I just had a little rest, anyone can do that, it’s not something to boast about.” But in resting, you are opening yourself up to the work of God. You interiorize that you are, in fact, not alone. And you make others understand this as well: “If I sleep, I disconnect, even during the day, but I’m not leaving you alone, believe me.”

Those that we are responsible for are not under our control, they are in God’s hands, and they need to know that—that is why it is good that they see us disconnect. Resting is not an act of weakness, it is an act of faith—faith in He who cast Adam into a deep sleep, out of whom came Eve, whereby Creation was culminated. And it was then that God declared that “it was very good.”

Jeanne Larghero


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