“If you are tired and worn out by your labors for Your Lord, place your head upon his knee and rest awhile.
Recline upon his breast, breathe in the fragrant Spirit of life, and allow life to permeate your being.
Rest upon him, for he is a table of refreshment that will serve you the food of the divine Father.” –John of Dalyutha
When I first saw the word “labor,” I dismissed this prayer from myself immediately, and from many of the people around me.
I dismissed it because I was thinking of Paul in his prison cell, of John of Dalyutha, the monk who rebuilt a monastery with his hands. I was thinking of people who are trying to reach up out of their poverty to find the call of God, the people who actually find Him right there in the midst.
All day long, I stared at those words, written on the front of our refrigerator door. All day long they ate at me, because who am I to call myself a true laborer?
Laborers are construction workers.
Laborers are slaves who still to this day have their backs broken over unpaid work.
Laborers are immigrants trying to find a home.
Laborers are my brothers and sisters, fighting to stay alive all over the world.
But then I was reminded:
childbirth is labor;
those long hours of in and out, slow breath;
those hours longing for the fruit of a baby, for the future family.
Laborers are often the “unskilled” historically, people who are just thrown into work and make do as they go along.
Well, I’m both of those, a mother who is just trying to figure it out as I go.
And if I am a laborer, so are you.
So is the girl who just gets through the next breath- a laborer.
So is the single father trying to provide for his kids- a laborer.
And so is my son Isaiah, learning to love people and speak in full sentences- a laborer.
Because God sweeps His hand over us. God gives us work to do, and sometimes that work is simply to seek Him.
Sometimes it’s to find Him.
Sometimes, it’s just to breathe.
And when we are weary, He calls us to His side, to His chest, where His heartbeat is all our reason, all our everything.
And we are fed again, fueled for the next day of our humanity, for the next birth of fruit, the next sign of life.
He sends us off, ready, and we are never alone.
I met with my writing group at a coffee shop on Monday night, and saw words reflecting in the light off of Ashley’s key chain.
I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the world.
And if our labor meshes with our dreams, if we meet to write and process and give each other words of truth and life, that, too, is our labor.
And because it adds to our humanity, to our saintly parts and our sinning parts, it still all belongs to Him, still all gets restored to His grace and His holiness.
So, dear friends, labor on. And don’t forget to stop and rest every now and then.