Challenged by Rest

March 22, 2023 | Micah Rensunberg

Photo: Micah Rensunberg by a frozen pond at the Woolman Hill Retreat Center.

I am officially coming out of my first winter in Boston. I was prepared for a challenge after spending my whole life in southern California. During our first snow of the year I ran down the front steps with my partner, determined to face the cold and

befriend the snowflakes. The beginning of this season felt active and invigorating. Now I am battling impatience.

By the end of February, if not sooner, I would already be back to surfing in San Diego, spending the evenings on the beach with a good book. Instead I’m writing this from the Saint Francis Courtyard wondering why my fingers feel so stiff. I no longer have to wear a thick winter coat so it feels easier to move around the city but I still can’t forget a sweater if I want to avoid shivering.

In my anticipation for spring, I am also practically counting down the days until I start my master’s program at Harvard Divinity School in the fall. I am restless in this slow-moving time that feels akin to a long sabbath. Yet this pause gives me room to consider what I want to do with the opportunity for rest. Instead of being passive, I am trying to think about how the concept of a jubilee (as mentioned in Leviticus) in the sabbatical year might awaken new perspectives for my life. In Leviticus, the people are given a year to rest after six years of work. The Year of Jubilee is included in this divine narrative, a period of revolutionary care and justice where actions are taken to support the larger community.

The spaciousness of this moment is helping me to think about what I want to carry forward when life naturally picks up its pace again; it’s making me consider how I can be changed in this sabbath-like time. I am hopeful that my values will allow me to shift things and decide what I need to be holding, and how, going forward.

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