I am in Charleston SC this week visiting my daughter at college. We have had a wonderful visit as usual. While it is always good to spend precious time with our daughter, we get doubly blessed because her college town happens to be a great place to vacation. Charleston is a sweet southern town full of civil war significance, quaint shops, fantastic eateries, beaches and boat marinas.
I especially like to walk around the town. Within a 5 mile walking distance you encounter unique gift shops, plenty of trendy clothing stores and street upon street of beautiful historic homes many on a water front known as “the battery”. The streets are filled with an odd assortment of vacationers, college students, cadets from the local military school and the locals. The later can easily be identified by their laid back saunter. Wether dressed in business suits or swim suits, everyone seems to move at a much slower pace than our home town in Northern Virginia.
While I had noticed the beauty and abundance of tree-lined parks in this area, it was a comment from my daughter while on one of our strolls around town that highlighted something I somehow had overlooked. “This place just encourages you to sit. There are benches everywhere.” she said.
I looked about, sure enough there before us was a large assortment of park benches. The further we walked the more we saw. I lost count after 30. Wrought iron, wood, or cement benches lined walk ways through parks, fronts of stores, apartments, government buildings, local piers and docks. Most of the benches were made of iron with wood slat seating, some were in groupings forming a pod of sorts and almost all of them sat below shady trees or shafts of warm sunlight.
Then I noticed something equally odd, most of them were empty. Joggers, walkers, visitors, workers all moved past each tempting seat as if they were invisible. Of course, if everyone stopped at every bench they saw, no one would get anywhere…but still, it seemed a waste. The existence of these benches was not lost on my husband and I. We talked about how nice it would be to just sit on a sun soaked bench and relax and read a bit one of the days of our stay here. Several times today even, we determined we would set aside time to just go sit and relax on one of those benches and yet….here I sit in our hotel room closing out day 3 of our visit and we have yet to sit on a bench.
How often do we pass up opportunities to rest? It is easy to tell ourselves we don’t need, deserve or have time for REST, and yet we are made for times of rest. Biologically our bodies require recovery time. Emotionally we have all experienced the need for rest. spiritually there is a need to rest and renewal. Why is rest so easy to avoid? While we may not all live in a city that “encourages you to sit”, we are all given a place to rest in our heavenly Father.
“Come to Me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Tomorrow, I will sit on a sun soaked bench, if only for a while….and I hope you will join me in remembering throughout each day that we have a God who offers us REST.
Everytime I see a bench, I will remember in Whom I find true rest.