Work and Non-work: the practice of finding something in nothing


“God is in the body, where we look out for each other.” –Peter Rollins

I’ve had a part time job on top of finishing this book for over a month now, and I find that my mind is cluttered–my brain is literally compartmentalizing itself again, creating new pathways and figuring out new rhythms, and by mid day it is exhausted. And in this, I see a tiny glimpse of the working family’s dilemma to keep up and the need for the body to slow down.

And we’re preparing for another PhD fall semester, and as much as we long for fall and the craziness, it creeps up and takes over and you’ve got to be ready for it.

I’ve noticed that I’ve had a headache for a few days now, a sore throat, less energy and a little more anxiety than normal.

I’ve noticed these little things changing inside my mind and heart, and deep down the red flags are going up as an early warning that rest is needed, sooner than later.

And so, I attempt to set boundaries, to non-work, to keep the laptop closed until nap time, to purposefully lose my phone and look at books instead, to intentionally make the morning a slow one.

There is so much something in nothing.

There is so much life in the quiet, so much rejuvenation in the unordinary rest period. So we over schedule ourselves for days and days, and to protect ourselves from completely burning out, we stop while we can–even for an hour–and we do NOTHING.

We turn off the phone and hide the MacBooks and Kindles; we sit by the fire and read, we do puzzles with the kids, or drink our coffee and tea–slowly this time; we talk and we share and we process and we stay in bed a little bit longer, dreaming.


No hurry.

Just rest.

At some point in time, some voice started to say that life needed to be done this way to be a successful one: fast and hard and with money in mind.

And that lone voice was joined with other voices until that chorus began to dictate what regular life became.

But today, we fight back.

We read ourselves, check our vitals, know our boundaries, trust our boundaries.

We use that vacation time that’s been adding itself up over the years and we take a day for ourselves, for our family, for our sanity, for our good.

We are so less useful to ourselves and the world when we are completely used up, so we learn to say no more than yes, to stay in more than out, to disengage what takes up so much of our lives and engage the quiet of our own souls, just for a little while.

We practice eye contact with those closest to us, re-learn what it means to listen and engage, to learn and practice wide-eyed curiosity.

And in knowing ourselves, in caring for ourselves, we know and care for each other.

And there we find God, we find holy, we find good and true.

We hearken back into the spaces we may have abandoned for months, maybe years.

The good news is that those quiet spaces always take us back.


Do not be afraid of the non-work, friends.

It may be exactly what keeps you working in the first place.



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