by Barbara Crafton
he said to them, "Come by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest
awhile"...Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there
on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them..."
you just can't get away. Everyone knows the odd combination
of longing and dread with which overworked people anticipate
their work holidays—longing to be at leisure for
a week or two, dread at the pile of work that will await them
when they return. It's not worth it to take a vacation,
more than one
person has told me. I'd be better off not going away at all.
is more to it than the dread of the accumulated work though.
A perverse momentum takes hold in some of us when
we are in need of rest: we can't stop working. We don't take it
easy—we take it hard. It's as if we were afraid to leave
the very thing from which we need a break.
exhausted people I talk to go to work earlier than they
need to and
stay later. Work much more, and accomplish about the
same as they would have if they worked normal hours. Maybe
Their world shrinks to the workplace and the workplace
alone. No other arena of their lives command their attention.
they think other people would be critical of them if they
took it easy, as if there were some moral
high ground of martyrdom demanded of them that is not
expected of everyone else. Sometimes they think terrible
things will happen if
they aren't there. They may hate it, but they
can't bring themselves to stop.
truth is, terrible things will happen whether you're there
or not. The escalating hours of work, the inability to
do anything else—these are symptoms of depression, a
loss of self and perspective on the world so profound it
can paralyze and even kill if it is not stopped.
and his followers needed a break. But the people they served
wouldn't let them take one—they followed them on their
vacation, every worker's nightmare. Not much could
be done about the presence of all those people, but one
be done: Jesus could turn it into a party. His people needed
some rest and recreation and the crowd needed supper, and
so the evening ended in a picnic on the green grass.
night was like that at St. Clement's: the tiny Spanish
Mass was celebrated at 6pm, and then we had supper together.
Sometimes it was Mexican food from one of the restaurants
Sometimes Clarence or Seth cooked something. Sometimes
we sent out for pizza. The kids from the After School stayed,
and a few parents, and a couple of the counselors. Any
volunteers who were around
stayed, and somebody would often happen in from the street, in varying degrees
faces of the children and the adults grew lovelier as I
began to unwind. I found my love for them again. The food
tasted good, and it was easy to bless and applaud the cook.
week had just begun. None of us were going anywhere anytime
soon. We were stuck there. There was nothing any of us
could do about that. But tonight we could relax and have
a little indoor picnic. A sweet break before picking up
the load again.
get away big? Then get away small. Have a picnic. wherever
you are. The Lord will provide.
Almost-Daily eMo from the Geranium Farm, e-mail
messages sent by Episcopal priest and writer Barbara
Crafton. Crafton's eMo's are published in book form
Publishing. Visit her Web site www.geraniumfarm.org
More by Barbara