Built into the side of a mountain in the north eastern swiss alps there is a special place that was a haven in a storm for my travelling family under crazy circumstances: wild winds, driving rain and a disgruntled preschooler (who hated the colour green, therefore her jacket) conspired to strand us in a terrible way on the side of this mountain and then… we came around a corner on the rocky path from the gondola to discover a cozy little wooden shelter with welcoming owners and warm cocoa – a reprieve.
We stopped awhile to rest. It helped immensely that we were with great friends – the kind that don’t judge you when your screaming three year old needs to be carried football style into the swirling storm – who reassured and rested with us in that quiet place.
“If there were no tribulation there would be no rest. If there were no winter there would be no summer. ” (St. John Chrysostom)
Tonight I spent some time with another good friend who was also in need of rest and reprieve. We talked and listened and laughed and shared in a moment removed from the tribulations of regular life – and it was a privilege to be part of her personal journey and to invite her along on mine.
Connected. Collective, constructive, creative. These are the ways we reach out to each other, and these are the ways we are able to bear up during life’s most troubling times – with the love and support of the friends and family that are standing here alongside us.
On that last trip to Switzerland we made it down from the mountain intact and no worse for the wear, in spite of the madness at the heart of the storm. Those moments of rest and respite had fortified us to hold on for the return trip. There below were green gardens and flowers, carrying on without interruption as if the storm above didn’t exist at all.
As for the lovely and amazing friend I visited with tonight – my wish for her is that the tiny moment of rest we shared will fortify her and carry her through the next stage of the journey with strength and grace. Life is unpredictable and challenging – find those opportunities for rest whenever/wherever you can, and live in them!