Deep Rest

If you were to walk through the open front door of our house right now, you’d wonder where everybody went. You might think we’d been abducted by aliens.

On the stove is a cast iron pan with under-cooked slices of yellow squash. You’d see challah crumbs and breakfast dishes, peanut butter and jelly jars left open on the counter, wet laundry piled high in a basket by the back door, just on its way out to the line. You’d see the push mower out back in the middle of the field of dandelions that is our yard this spring, kids’ bikes and helmets and all sizes of strollers in the grass out front. You’d walk through the downstairs, looking for signs of life. Even the dog would lie unresponsively on the bottom stair, his brown eyebrows twitching slightly in half-sleep. Dolls, blankets, pictures in broken frames, DVD boxes, and what would appear to be dozens of pairs of shoes – strewn. It is very quiet, except for the bass thudding from the student rental next door.

“Hello?”

But come upstairs, and suddenly you understand. This family is home. They are resting. They are all sleeping. It is Shabbat. This is the day that they let down, and today the letting down came hard and fast around noon. The two-year old feel asleep, while she was pooping in a diaper no less, right in the house’s entryway. The five year old, who prides herself on no longer napping at preschool, burrowed in to her mother’s leaden body and before long, their breathing had slowed in steady harmony. The man in this house, head swimming and industrious, joined them later. Now he lies with the girl, his face to her back, a pair of sleeping lions. The smaller child woke, but refused to be picked up from her crib.

And the mother sits in this silence now, as you wander through these rooms. We are home, yes. But we are not coming or going, not making or doing, not beginning or completing, not thinking or talking or planning or working. This is the deep rest that comes, only serendipitously – and just sometimes, when we most need it.

P.S. Lest this all sound too idyllic: Well, it was. But two hours later, I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown. This is life with kids, this is my practice. And I’m so grateful to share it with you.

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