Sometimes, life speaks to us quietly, telling us to rest.
We may get a little tired, or catch a cold, or find that we cannot get done in one day all that we have to do. If we pay attention to these little signs, we rest, rejuvenate our spirits, and then start in again, refreshed and ready to go. Sometimes, however, we are not attentive, and then life becomes less subtle. “SLOW DOWN, for heaven’s sake!,” it says, taking more assertive steps to get us to take care of ourselves.
That happened to me this past week. As you know, I’ve been pretty busy over the past months, cleaning out the basement, getting ready for having 30 people for Easter dinner, working, preparing for Easter music at church, doing tax returns for Max and me, Emily, and my mother – I’ve been very busy! So when I felt a tingle in one of my teeth a couple of weeks ago, I decided that it would go away and that I needed to get that next document done. That was an unfortunate move. My body was telling me quietly to rest and take care of myself, but I was telling my body that I knew best.
You can probably guess the rest of the story. I eventually got one of those “SLOW DOWN!” messages in the form of having to get a root canal. So this is the third day in a row that I have been forced to rest – and other than being in various stages of pain, I’m kind of having a nice time. My sister will tell you that I was not having a nice time as she drove me home Thursday afternoon, after my having innumerable shots in my mouth, hearing drilling, feeling grinding, and having some kind of prop keeping my mouth open wider than I thought possible. Though the results hurt more than the worst migraine I have ever had, the endodontist who performed these elements of legal torture was empathetic and kind, letting me take breaks when needed. No, that part was not nice.
But it was fun to get into bed in the middle of the afternoon and turn on the television – just like a sick day from school – and go to sleep, with help from pain meds, accompanied by white noise in the background. It was good to feel, when I woke up, that I didn’t have to do anything, even though that was because I simply couldn’t do anything. I felt some guilty pleasure in moving my computer to the bed and popping in, for the umpteenth time, the “Pride and Prejudice” DVD, the one with the true Mr. Darcy – Colin Firth. Because Max is teaching a trial skills class in Texas, I didn’t have to think about what to cook for dinner and whether we had everything to make whatever that was going to be (of course, he would have cooked had he been here – but I couldn’t have eaten!).
These days of forced rest have reminded me that balance is important. Yes, it’s important to do work, to mow the yard, to water the plants, and to fulfill obligations, but it’s just as important to rest and indulge in the things we like to do. I wonder if I will remember that next month, when this experience is just a dim recollection? Probably not. But I can hope!
Deborah Mitchell is a a local attorney and a Municipal Court Judge.Reach