Rest in the New Year

Finally. A new blog post for a new year.  What’s up, 2020?

Actually, first, let me say that 2019 ended on a high note. I spent four days at the Rise Up conference in Toronto listening to talks, praying, meeting young people, and chatting about vocations. Best of all, I had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of other younger religious to create a space for participants to take a break, hang out, play games, and talk with religious. I wrote about that experience for Around the Well.

On to 2020. The New Year always gives me a boost. I love, love, LOVE the chance to think about new things I would like to do in the new year, to reflect on all of the possibilities, and to listen to how God is speaking to me, asking me, perhaps to change things up. For a number of years, I would make resolutions and be reasonably good at sticking to them. But this year I decided to do something different. Inspired by this podcast and related blog posts, I decided to make a 20 for 2020 list: 20 activities/goals for the New Year. Not quite 20 resolutions because they don’t all involve behaviour change, but more like a ‘To Do’ list for 2020, with a mix of short term items and some that will stretch into the end of the year. It’s exciting to think of new things I’d like to try as well as finally accomplish some tasks that have been hanging around for some time (like put together an e-book of some my blog posts, especially the ones from my time as a candidate and novice).

There a number of fun projects on the horizon, including some discernment on what I might do when I finish my theology studies (still a year away but very exciting and motivating to start thinking/plotting about it now), some work for the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a new semester of First Spiritual Exercises retreats, and coming up soon, Mary Ward Week 2020 activities at Loretto College (more to come on this).

While action is a heavy theme on my 20 for 2020, I’ve also included a weekly day of rest. When I added this item to my list, it seemed ridiculous to me, but the truth is, I’m really bad at this. I know that I need to take regular breaks, I often long for it and feel frustrated when I don’t take time to just rest, but I’ve been very bad (for many years) about prioritizing it. Being busy is second nature to me (and usually a source of joy and fun) and resting, except when sick, is very difficult. But I know from my fall 2019 First Spiritual Exercises retreat that rest is a gift that God wants to give me, a gift that, obviously, I can choose to either refuse or accept. In 2020, I choose to accept this invitation. To psyche myself up for my day of rest, I’ve been re-listening to my favourite Sabbath-themed RobCasts: The Cellular ExodusLet the Land Lie Fallow, and Menuha!

I’m now two Sundays into my practice and it’s surprisingly rough going. What I’ve noticed most of all is how tired I am. I spent the entire day last Sunday watching The Messiah on Netflix, and today I’ve spent most of the day watching His Dark Materials. On the plus side, I’ve also started a new Sunday evening ritual, again aided by television, involving Earl Grey teaPim’s orange biscuits, and the new season of Doctor Who. I suppose I’ve basically spent my days of rest (so far) being brain dead. I’ve noticed that I feel guilty, slightly depressed, and bored. I don’t really know how to enjoy spending time not working on stuff. I’m going to have to practice. I’m convinced that once I get into the rhythm of regular rest, the rest will eventually turn into play. Even more, while technically not a retreat day, my day of rest will be a day of listening. Listening to my body, my heart, my soul, (perhaps even with my brain disengaged watching tv) and seeing what’s going on inside. Listening for the quiet voice of God to speak. 

2 thoughts on “Rest in the New Year”

  1. Sarah, I can identify totally with your inability to just rest!! As an extrovert and action oriented person, I experience what you speak of when I have time just to be! Now, finally retired at 83 and removed from my former active life in the community around The Blue Mountains (my first 25 years of retirement) I find boredom and I resist the opportunity to be more inner, more reflective, more quiet. I long for the active life of service and engagement in people’s lives in Thornbury. I have to adjust to my new life, accepting that the active life is behind me, and now is the time for my contemplative soul to be nourished and attended to!

    Blessings on your #20 /2020, Sarah. Hang in there on doing soul and body and heart tending one day a week.

    Love ❣️ Rita Mary I enjoy journeying with you through your blog. 🤗

    > Looking at the Earth and the universe from the standpoint of awe, wonder and radical amazement at the grandeur and magnificent mystery of all being. That’s what the new bottom line is about. > > RABBI MICHAEL LERNER >



  2. Dear Sarah, Love this new goal of 20 in 2020. Especially like the day of rest challenge. Now that I’m older, 66, the day of rest is much easier to accomplish. I have memories of my parents resting on Sundays and it seemed undoable for me, who at that time was a working mom with 2 children. Even after retirement last year, a day of rest was difficult and produced feelings of guilt. I’ve solved my problem after a suggestion from a friend. I crochet. I can put on my headphones, listen to my favourite music or podcasts and crochet the time away. Having my hands busy helps to settle my compulsion to be doing. And at the end of the day I’m closer to having a new hand made item that I can gift to a special someone. Love your bogs. Phyllis Parr IBVM Associate

    On Sun., Jan. 19, 2020, 7:46 p.m. Love, the driving force: a journey of discernment, wrote:

    > Sarah Rudolph, IBVM posted: ” Finally. A new blog post for a new > year. What’s up, 2020? Actually, first, let me say that 2019 ended on a > high note. I spent four days at the Rise Up conference in Toronto listening > to talks, praying, meeting young people, an” >


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Malcolm Guite

Blog for poet and singer-songwriter Malcolm Guite

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