The Fourth of July was spent one of two place for the first 25 years of my life: in the swimming pool in my Aunt Millie’s back yard in Dallas or at the Faught Farm where dozens of kids spent the day in team olympics that began with volleyball and culminated with the crawdad hunt. These were days of carefree living, blissful friendship and joyful play as we simply kicked back and relaxed into summer.
As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day this weekend, we may not be able to enjoy large gatherings for picnics or fireworks or trips. But we can take the time to rest and reflect and play. Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest,” and the Psalmist says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Since the pandemic arrived among us, many have experienced every day as “Blursday.” Those working from home are not sure when the work day or work week concludes. Children and young people do not have the routines of schools and camps and sports. And retirees lack the structure of volunteer work and social networks. And all of us feel the weight of the constant barrage of increasingly bad news.
For the last four months, many of us have invested ourselves into keeping the businesses and social service agencies that sustain life afloat. We have poured over spreadsheets and dreamed of new ways of doing life. We have found strength we never knew we had. And now we are realizing that the pandemic is not quickly going away. One way God sustains us is to give us the gift of play and rest.
This weekend, I promise to take one full day without reading any news! I will sit and stare at the lake. I will read a novel. I will play a game. Maybe watch Hamilton on Disney. No crawdads or volleyball but time to simply be. How else can we listen to the still small voice of God and trust in the living Christ who “gives us rest.” My pray is for you to know the freedom and joy that only God can give.