Dolce far niente is Italian for “the sweetness of doing nothing.” Nice! We need more Italian influences in our lives. More Italian food wouldn’t be a bad idea either…
It took a rare 24 hour escape from normal life to make me realise I am always moving from one thing to the next, a watchful eye on the clock, an awareness of what is next in my day. Even at dinner I had to remind myself that with no children with me (I did miss them though!) to request drinks, or need help cutting up their dinner, or cleaning up a spill, I could actually chew each mouthful before swallowing and in fact slow down over the whole meal. It was pretty obvious at the restaurant, food here was savoured and not hoovered down. By the time I headed to the hotel pool for a swim, I even had to be told the time as I signed in. Imagine that, me not knowing what time it was!
Waking up in the morning unaided by an alarm clock (or children), I found myself singing “slow down you move too fast, you’ve gotta make the morning last!” Slow Living is apparently the new trend. It’s the comeback to a life spent glued to devices and social media, the antidote to the 24/7 availability to work. It’s a trend about enjoying the moment, placing importance on rest. Come to think of it, Farmers have known for hundreds of years to give their fields fallow time – time for the field to be restored to full fertility. A field that had fallow time was more productive.
As much as God has built rhythms into nature through seasons, so too does He encourage us to do the same. And while “slow living” – is the latest lifestyle trend, I think we’ll find that God had the plan first. He built a day of rest, the Sabbath, into our week. He created night and sleep! God was intentional in this – rest is what will enable us to sustain our lives and enjoy them all the more. Throughout Jesus’ time on earth, when He must been feeling the pressure of so much need of Him and such limited time, He would take Himself off for rest and time with God. If Jesus could find time, with the huge mandate on His life, I certainly can too and being too busy is not a good enough excuse.
After my 24 hour sojourn I came back with ideas sparking on many fronts! I can’t always have 24 hour getaways but I can build rest into my daily life. Taking time to stop, to enjoy the moments, to slow down. I can walk more slowly back to the car after the school drop off and enjoy the sunshine. I can read more, linger more with friends and family. I can choose to leave the dishes in the sink and jump on the trampoline with the boys. There are many ways I can have rest during my days.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)
Slow living – here I come!