A Holy Nap-Taking

I've been tired lately---the kind of tired that you feel inside, but not in your bones, more like in your spirit, or in your head, or your heart... if that makes sense.  

I know it's a deep kind of tiredness because I have been daydreaming about taking naps--really long, satisfying naps. 

And not just any naps anywhere, mind you, I am talking about the kind of naps that are ingrained in my memory, the naps I took in special places in the world... holy places where I rested mind, body, and soul. 

  • On the green summer grass of a garden next to Christ Church College in Oxford England. 
  • On a chair on a patio outside a cafe in the Vatican, overlooking one of the papal gardens.  
  • On a warm, sun-drenched rock in neck-deep water near the shore of Lake Tahoe
  • On my grandmother's living room couch, which was across from a window fan that hummed and gently blew cool air over me. 
  • On my old bed, on a fall Sunday afternoon after my mom died--the window was open, and I could hear the wind chimes outside. 
There are more, to be sure, but these are the ones that stand out to me today.  Even now I can picture each of them.  

Those were holy moments of rest when busyness was held at bay, cares and worries faded, and I felt both lightness of spirit and heaviness of the body, melted into place, grounded at the moment.  

I got to thinking about the sacredness of those spaces today.  Those places where I rested were thin spaces where I felt something eternal, a connection to God's reality, which is just on the other side of our own.  

By all accounts, those spaces were ordinary: thick grass, a chair, a warm rock, a bed, a couch.  But what made them extraordinary was how I was able to settle on them, and then let go of all the attachments that kept me spinning, in order to simply rest---to be, rather than do.  

The poet Rumi once wrote: We need at least one place where we can kneel and kiss the ground. 

While I love that sentiment, and all the beautiful truth that it holds, what I've come to understand is that those kinds of holy places of rest and Divine connection are all around us all of the time.  

It's not necessarily the place itself that holds the key to the sacred.  That key is within us.  We need only let go of whatever attachments and unhealthy habits that we've come to rely upon in our search for peace, and then we will open up to the infinite possibilities of the holy spaces wherever we happen to find ourselves. 

The author of Hebrews tapped into this deep and important knowledge when he/she wrote: 

9 Therefore, a time of eternal rest exists for God’s people. 10 Those who entered his place of rest also rest from their work as God did from his. 11 So we must make every effort to enter that place of rest.

While it might sound a bit like the author of Hebrews was speaking of life after death here, that's not the point at all.  They were speaking of eternal life, and rest right now, in our present moment.  

And you and I need to make every effort to enter into the places of "eternal rest" that exist all around us and within us.  This is the very definition of serenity---carrying peace and rest with us wherever we go, living in the beauty of what Fr. Richard Rohr calls "the naked now."  

May you find rest and peace today wherever you go.  May your eyes be opened to the thin spaces of Divine connection all around you.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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