14 November 2011

Give It a Rest

One of our cross-country runners went home sick from school today.  She went home around mid-day, feeling too crummy to make it through the rest of the day.  Interestingly enough, though, she showed up for cross-country practice, still feeling miserable, but determined not to miss a practice.  We sent her home.  The last thing in the world that we want is for her to get even sicker just because she wants to run--no matter what the circumstances, the best thing for her to do is to pay attention to the messages that her body is sending her and allow her body to heal by resting and relaxing.

It's important that we trust our bodies and the messages they give us.  It's important that we not push them past their limits, especially when they constantly give us warnings that we're reaching those limits.  The little pains that we feel, the slight colds, the headaches, the muscle aches--those are all messages from our bodies about something important, and we must learn to read those messages if we're to maintain our health--physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Most of our cultures, though, don't reward us when we're resting.  Rather, they reward us when we're competing, when we're pushing ourselves harder than others, when we're working longer hours than anyone else, when we're accomplishing more things than anyone else.

But it doesn't matter what our cultures tell us if we're good about listening to our bodies.  Personally, I don't care if other people expect me to work harder than others--if my body tells me that it needs to lay down, then I'll take a nap.  If it tells me that I shouldn't run today, then I'll take a break from running.  If it tells me that it can use some medicine, then I'll find a medicine that treats whatever it is that's ailing me.  I really like my body--it's taken me to many marvelous places and carried me many thousands of miles of both running and walking.  It doesn't demand much of me, so when it does ask for a little favor like a rest here and there, then I'm more than glad to give it what it needs.  After all, we have a pretty close relationship, and I don't want to let it down.  It's too good of a friend for that!

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass
on a summer day listening to the murmur of water,
or watching the clouds float across the sky,
is hardly a waste of time.
John Lubbock

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