11 August 2008

Relax, relate, release...

So, I ditched church on Sabbath and headed to Stone Mountain Park instead. The weather was beautiful - a little warm with temps in the low 90s, but I have a "spot" in the park that I frequent that is off the beaten path - right by a body of water where there is a cross breeze and you can feed the ducks and immerse yourself in the solitude of nature. I packed up a picnic basket with some good food, my blanket and a pillow, a good book and my laptop (which did not work - I couldn't get a good strong signal) and spent a good, solid four hours in the park. One of my "spots" in the park is near a carillon - a pipe organ that was built for a World's Fair (I think) and donated to the park. On the weekend, Ms. Mabel Florence (a cute older Southern lady - complete with floppy straw hat) plays selected hymns and songs at preset times. Ms. Mabel knows me and everytime she sees me at the carillon on Sabbath, she will interperse her playing with lots of hymns, especially "It is Well with My Soul", which she knows is a personal favorite. There is nothing like it. It is a wonderful Sabbath experience and one I try to take advantage of at least once a quarter or so - whenever duties at church don't tie me to the building and the weather is cooperative.

And I am sure you are not surprised to know that I speak to the other visitors to the Park who wander by my spot by the water. There were the two guys who went fishing in the lake, caught some bass and were headed home to fry them up and eat 'em. [I tried to give them a healthy grilled recipe alternative, but I know they fried those jokers up and ate 'em!] Other tourists wandered down to take pictures by the carillon or of the paddleboat, the Scarlett O'Hara, or with a view of the mountain across the water. [Of course, I offered to take group pictures so that EVERYONE was in the picture 'cause I'm notorious for being the photographer and not in the picture] There was the group of six from Louisiana in town for the weekend, and the couple and their daughter visiting from the Bay Area in California. There was the group of women who wadded out into the water to get their toes wet. And invariably, I heard the comment (over and over again), "Now SHE has the right idea...a picnic in a shaded spot...I wish I could do that...I wish I'd thought of that".

Why can't they? Why didn't they? When did we get so caught up in "life" that we forgot how to slow down...to relax...to take time to relate to the world around us...to release ourselves from our pent up tensions, worries and cares? Is it part of being an adult? Of being responsible? There are enough hours in the day when I have to focus on going to work, paying the bills, washing the dishes, taking out the trash, cooking, cleaning, organizing...it is a never-ending cycle. But I have learned that if I don't take time to "stop and smell the roses", I get sick...mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I have to find time to "recharge my batteries" - whether it is going on vacation or finding a quiet conference room at work to journal at lunchtime or checking out of church to go spend the day at the park - in order to keep up with the busy pace demanded of me by life.

God didn't create us to work ourselves to death. I think that is why He created flowers and birds and beautiful vistas. So that we would have things to admire if we would just take the time to do so. As I stated before, He built a day of rest into the week when He created the world so that we could take advantage of it. Your way to "relax, relate, release" may not be the same as mine - you might like gardening or skiing or bungee jumping - I don't know. But take time to recharge your batteries. Take time for you.

Be blessed.

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