It was “Hammock Day” according to someone, so my husband set the hammock up under the tangerine tree for me. I celebrated by lying under the shady branches with a book to read and a breeze to keep me from wilting. A few feet above my head a hummingbird sat on a branch guarding his feeder and squeaking loudly. The sparrows, who often find shelter in the branches of the tangerine tree, lined up on the neighbors shrub rising above the wall separating our properties. I wondered if they were perplexed by my presence and hoping to outlast me, but they moved on before I could gather my writing utensils.
The breeze was balmy and the shadows of the leaves danced across my skin. I looked up through the branches into the sky and I was transported to my childhood. As a young girl, I would spend hours lying in the grass looking up through oak and walnut trees, sending my hopes and prayers out beyond the blue sky. I often read in or under a tree where I felt safe.
It occurred to me I had not been in the hammock for at least a year. I am not opposed to making time to relax, but just as I let go of the breath I'd been holding in, guilt began to nip at my joy. I tried to shoo it away like swatting at a persistent fly landing on my leg, but it hung around the fringes of my mind waiting on its next opportunity to rob me of rest.
The hour spent in the hammock left me relaxed and renewed. It was pleasant. Often unscheduled leisure produces guilt. You too? Why do we women struggle so to make a place in the week's schedule for renewal? Why do we think we need to pour ourselves out without taking time to refill our emptiness? My common sense says everyone benefits when I retreat and return full; others get a better version of me. But the false guilt in me says it is best to choose the way of the martyr. Oh but I believe true martyrdom must be nobler than my grandiose idea of running on fumes.
What are you doing for rest and renewal?
Here I sit thinking of you and wondering how we might encourage one another. My motive for blogging is wrapped up in a love for writing and a desire to scatter about metaphors bursting with joy, hope, light, truth, beauty and encouragement. Most of us are aware these sweet elixirs are extracted from the rugged, thorny paths we trudge. I hope to find, in the writing, a sifter for separating the dust clinging to the moments of our well worn days from the gold glitter to be treasured. May you find in my attempts to weave together the common denominators of our stories that you are not alone. May you be inspired to look for God's love and His wonderful beauty where you least expect it.