If I Rest, I Rust

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 – The 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for July 22, 2012

“…He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourself and rest awhile…’” (Mark 6:31)

In a typical week, my days include writing, work at hospice, exercise, watching television, reading, surfing the web, chores around the house, preparing food, eating food and procrastination.

What happens in your typical day? If you have kids in school or serve in the military, you’d probably claim different activities than me. But we all share one additional event on our “typical day” that I didn’t include . . .


The first paragraph loosely orders my daily activities from most to least amount of time. Which is to say, I’ll spend more time writing than procrastinating and less time eating a meal than preparing a meal. And yet if I were to add sleep as an eleventh item, it would immediately race to the head of the class. Don’t I spend more time sleeping than anything else? Don’t you?

There are 168 hours in a week and most experts I’ve heard suggest logging eight or so hours every day in a horizontal position. So, let’s say you work a 40-hour-a-week job that takes 50 or 60 hours to accomplish because you’re a dedicated employee or an overworked fool or a take-no-prisoners entrepreneur. Whether or not you should be proud of this, perhaps your 60 wide-eyed and bushy-tailed hours of commitment to W-O-R-K will outwit, outplay and outlast the projected 56 hours of slumber those statisticians proclaim you should have.

If you work more than sleep, can I briefly be your concerned pastor and gently chide you about your skewed schedule?

Get some sleep fool!

But how dare I chide, finger-point or tsk-tsk! In a typical night I log a maximum of 5.5 hours of shut-eye. Silly me, I’m in bed by 10pm and then up at 3:30am, long before dawn cracks. However I’m a dedicated napper. Since I’ve chosen the early morning for my writing time, I compensate by snoozing for an hour in the afternoon. Boring!

Everybody’s different. Everyone, for good and bad reasons, undermines prognostications about average sleep. Or work. Or exercise. Or . . . you name it. The crucial question, which is also a question of faith, is about balance in life. Do you balance work, rest and recreation? Continue reading →