Sometimes The Work Is Resting

A Pastoral note from Reverend Claudia Jiménez

Our local YMCA has a large glass jar at the front desk with bright, colorful strips of paper and an invitation to “take a blessing” upon entering or departing. Recently, on my way in, I chose a yellow strip with the words “sometimes the work is resting.” It felt like a message from the universe, a reminder to slow down, to put my commitments in perspective. My commitments to ministry, to the people I care about, to myself and to justice give meaning to my life.

Often, being a perfectionist and workaholic distracts me from the need for rest and healthy boundaries between work and personal life. It is a continuous effort to find and honor those boundaries, to recognize that work is never finished. I struggle to set aside time for rest.

In these times of heartbreak, frustration and anger, as war, gun violence, poverty, and other oppressions are destroying so many lives, rest seems to be a luxury we can ill afford. But is it?

To live into our commitments there is work we must do, and we must also give ourselves permission to rest, to re-energize our spirits for the sustained engagement that allows us to live into our call, whatever that might be. We need time for solitude and time to enjoy the company of our beloveds. We need time for laughter, joy and lightness.

I have found that when I truly take time off by ignoring the in-box or silencing my phone while I am away, I return ready to re-engage, with greater creativity, enthusiasm, and a clearer vision for the work before me.

How about you, what is your call to live into your values in the world?

I invite you to consider Rev. Lynn Ungar’s words from her poem, Camas Lilies:

“And you—what of your rushed

and useful life?

Imagine setting it all down—

papers, plans, appointments, everything—

leaving only a note:

“Gone to the fields to be lovely. Be back when I’m through with blooming.”

May your useful, precious life be one in which there is space for setting it all down and taking time to rest. And then, let’s get back to it. There is so much good work to do – if we’re rested and energized for the job!

In faith,

Rev. Claudia Jiménez