There's a certain amount of irony regarding my blog this month. I had the topic already planned, looked ahead to the week it would fall in, and felt confident as I prepared. However, I got in from work today absolutely pooped, glanced at the diary and saw with dismay that I had lost a day and now this is being written the night before it's due. And the theme, dear reader, is "rest."
You see, over the Christmas period when the days felt longer and in every way better, I felt I could conquer the world - admittedly only from the comfort of my armchair. I was in control of the things in my life. Little jobs that had been on my mental to-do list were now finally getting done. (Setting the measurements on my dressmaker's mannequin was one, if you want to know.) Friends were being offered hospitality instead of apology. I still wasn't sleeping particularly well, but what did it matter if I didn't get dressed until mid-morning? I was on holiday! I was rested! I could accomplish amazing things in 2017! I will get a book published! Maybe two!
Then, on January 3rd, I went back to work. Within hours I was tired. 2017 felt an awful lot of time to fill - time I hadn't got the energy for. In the evening I looked across at dear Mr C and he looked a craggier version of the way I felt. All that lovely holiday restedness had gone.
I'm afraid I'm not going to dress this up with some wonderful theological gem about resting in the Lord and the Sabbath and all those other truths that could make a difference and sometimes really do. I just want to be honest with you and, in being so, perhaps you might find honesty within yourself in response. Life is hard work, whether you have a job or not. The daily grind seems to apply to our bodies and souls rather than the original context of wheat becoming flour. Those moments when the burden is lifted - in my case, that utterly joyous moment when you look in the fridge and realise that at this rate you won't have to cook again until at least mid-February - and we have time and capacity to dream are to be cherished highly.
I'm so grateful for the time I was able to rest this holiday. I mourn its passing. I feel the poorer for it having gone. I know it shouldn't be like that, and I hope it won't always be. But for now, I shall look for resting places within the busyness. I shall find ten minutes to read or write. I shall savour that cup of coffee. I'll enjoy that hug. And I shall count down the days until the next oasis.
Jane Clamp is Creative Writer on the Sunday Breakfast Show of BBC Radio Norfolk and on the Thought of the Day team at Premier Radio. She is ACW Groups' Coordinator.