My friend told me once, “The Camak family sure loves a nap.” I say, “The Camak family RESPECTS the nap.” This staunch view my immediate family holds is probably the result of the marriage between a Fant and Camak. For I know with great certainty that the Fant family also respects the nap. Whether it is a short power nap, a “Pap” nap in a recliner, or a full on Sunday afternoon nap, the perks of the nap are not to be discounted.
Growing up, I believed naps were actually a required part of the day. And on Sundays, they were sacred. I never really protested, as many children do, and looked forward to my daily breaks. I did not always sleep. I vividly remember one particular episode when I tip toed down the stairs during an allotted nap time. I rounded the corner only to be discovered by Lizzie, who was dusting the lower banister. Lizzie cared for our family and household, and in my eyes was family. It was like I had been “caught” by my grandmother. We locked eyes. She said, “Oooooh Miss Dorothy I think you are supposed to be sleeping.” I stated my case as best a five year old can: that I had tried desperately to sleep, but was just not sleepy that day. We preceded to begin sweeping together and she imparted on me wisdom that I have tried to remember ever since. She said that even if I did not sleep during “nap time,” I should rest. She told me rest was important even if that was sitting and coloring or attempting to read my older brother’s Hardy Boys books. (oh goodness: big long words. chapter books. But I was “reading.”) We talked about the importance of being still and quiet to allow others to rest. She said that my Daddy worked hard for his family and when he had a chance to come home and rest, I needed to be a good girl and let him. Her words and wisdom never left me, and have continued to work their way back up to my head and my heart when I need to be reminded….
I have never been comfortable with the terms extrovert and introvert. I feel like I am both. I about love being social, spending time with new and old friends, and goodness knows I love a costume party. But I am also completely in love with life when I have time to myself. I actually gain energy and it is life giving to me when I pursue it. (even if it’s a short spurt of time) I honestly did not realize it until college when my dorm buddies dubbed it “Dottie time.” Ha! I have done the Myers-Briggs test, I am pretty legit into the Enneagram(I am a #9, by the way—what are you?), but I have always felt my life is more fulfilled when I seek “active rest.”
Sounds pretty simple right? You know, just make sure you get a few moments for yourself each day, rest on the Sabbath, and just go ahead a slap a bumper sticker on your car that says “too blessed to be stressed!” But how do you tell a new mom who is their child’s sole source of nutrition and total care, who is physically and emotionally drained to just “take some time to herself.”? How does a single dad who works his ass off to provide for his child get true relaxation? How does a woman who is not only the primary caretaker for her grandchild, but also her ailing parent to find some quietude each day? It’s actually comical. Ridiculous really.
And now, as I am walking through a season I could not have anticipated, I had all but forgotten the wisdom of Lizzie, and our Lord. What is rest? How can I rest? Sleep is not an option, even when I want to. Nightmares suck. And even when I do want huddle under the covers, I have work to do. Relax with friends? Seriously, no time for this taskmaster. But God in His ever sovereign ways has allowed me to hit the inevitable “wall.” I can’t just whiz through this “to do” list. I am in uncharted waters and some days just feel like survival. It is when we have the most to do, the biggest burdens, and the least time that are the most essential for true rest in God. Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Yep, He got it.
So, today “Dottie time” has been revived, I am abandoning the overwhelming to dos, and I’m coming around to resting in God.
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly."
And if on perfect cue, just as I am finishing this post…because…well..life… my phone rings(to do list stuff)…again…oh decline button, how sweet you are!
(Photo infomation: found this when cleaning out my dad’s office. Photo of us napping, naturally. Frame made with tongue depressors and must have given to him one year)