Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Gift of Rest

I work as a recording technician for the University of Oklahoma School of Music. That means that somewhere between three and six nights each week I sit behind a mixing board and make tiny adjustments to the input levels for a couple of microphones hanging over all manner of recitals. I get to hear a lot of music for less than free. I also run the lights. It is a very good job.

But even the best job is a job, and there is a distinct pleasure in being ready and on time to go to work and then to find out you don’t have to. Tonight I couldn’t find my performers anywhere. I looked on stage, backstage, and out in the lobby, but the only crowd gathered was for a dress rehearsal happening next door.

I waited until just after 8:00 when the show was supposed to start.  Nobody was in the audience and nobody stepped out into the spotlight, so I shut down my mixing board and walked home.

I have spent plenty of days in my seven years of college rushing around from one obligation to the next and seldom stopping to rest, to breathe deeply, and to thank God for all the many gifts that have sustained me through the hustle and bustle. I don’t only get frustrated for feeling like I don’t have enough time; I get angry. I feel like every conversation someone tries to start or every invitation someone extends is a sort of threat. So I clam up and stay indoors and work away in solitude until it is too late at night for anyone to bother me anymore. When I ought to be lying down to sleep, I let out a sigh of relief that I successfully eluded my friends and neighbors another evening and I get back to work. As often as not, I’m up until two or three AM reading, writing, practicing, cleaning, or wasting time on the computer and justifying it by calling it “rest.”

Tonight will not be one of those nights. Though I’ve spent a fair portion of my paid vacation writing this note, I’ll spend the rest on my bed breathing deeply and letting the Lord speak. This, I have found, is the best way to spend these unexpected free moments. How could anything be better? And how often I forget…

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