Thursday, July 1, 2010

Give It A Rest

Last week my husband Derek attended the funeral of one of his beloved music professors from college. Professor John Courter was a musician of the highest order, a world-renowned organist, and a highly respected teacher known for his magnanimous spirit, perfect pitch, photographic memory, and musical genius. Derek shared with me some details from the funeral, and one particular story has remained in my mind in recent days. As one colleague eulogized Mr. Courter, he reminisced about some time in the teacher's office not long before his death. As they were sorting through years' worth of boxes and office paraphernalia, Mr. Courter came upon a sheet of music from an original composition: one he noted he hadn't seen for years. Upon finding it, he went immediately to a specific measure, grabbed an eraser, and removed a duplicate rest. Relieved, he looked up and said to his friend, "People don't often think of it this way, but we can't forget that in music the rests are just as important as the notes."

I just keep thinking about that. The importance of the rests.

Whether in music score or the daily grind of life, the ease of the ebb and flow is dependent upon the proper balance of rest and labor.

I've never been a particularly driven individual who needs constant reminders about slowing down, taking time to relax and refresh, stopping to smell the roses... proverbial or otherwise! I rather enjoy kicking back and enjoying the little things of life. I do know folks who struggle with that, though, and it can really be a difficult thing to overcome.

That doesn't mean I don't struggle with rest, though. There are many things that I need to "take a rest" from. For, even when I'm allowing my body to recline and appreciate a reprieve from activity, my mind often just goes wildly on whirring anyway. I need to learn how to cultivate rest in my mind and my spirit. I need to learn to recognize the things that trigger agitation and that trouble the waters at a time when they should be still. Still and know.....

Sometimes, it's my tongue that needs to rest. I don't have to speak every thought that I have, even when I'm convinced that I'm right and my present audience needs to know it. I've struggled with that pretty much since I can remember; it just takes on different forms as I move into different sets of life circumstances and interact with different groups of people. I'm learning!

Other times, I need to actually be a place of rest for others: my husband, my children, family, friends. A place where they can safely stop and have a respite from the turmoils of life. I want to be the kind of person that has the spirit and manner that helps soothe the anxious feelings of those who need calm.

Yes! I agree, Professor Courter...the rests really are just as important!

That simple story was indeed a reminder for me, and I hope for you, reader, that though the journey in life is very important and must be traveled with great care and decisiveness, sometimes the rests we take along the way are just as crucial to our success.

Take time to rest today!

Matthew 11:28-30 "Come unto Me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


Kimberly said...

i think i will keep thinking on this for awhile...a powerful reminder of how the "rests" are an important part of Life's melody. i'm glad that you're writing again!

Juwah said...

Such a great way to think of rest. I especially appreciate the tongue resting as you well know my own weakness. :)