I can’t find rest. Is it a place? Or is it a person? I fell in love and fell out of love. With people. With places. With fantasies. With stories. With indulgences. With dreams.
But when I go for a swim in the lakes, the lakes that seemed very beautiful and perfect, I come out pungent and stinking like a feral worm. Beneath the water surfaces that seemed placid when you looked at it, beneath the water surface you find monsters and snakes that wriggle around me and pull me down. I shiver in the water, freezing and evil. The snakes whisper false promises and threats all in the same breath.
Rest is not a place either. I have taken a walk in the beautiful valley that looked promising but came to realise how deep the gorges were, and how indestructible the vines that cluttered the road were. And the rains that fell in the forests – they could beat you and drive your weary minds mad.
Rest is not a person either. Not anyone I have met before. This woman, she seemed restful but she turned out to be a banshee that would wake me up every night in chilled fear, and I would find myself choking on my own poison that seeped from my deepest imagination.
Rest is not a dream or a fantasy. I have had dreams and they become nightmares. Dark stars that will not leave me alone. Dark fears that become my shadows never going away.
But My Friend
But I met with my friend, and he picked a place in the sun for us to talk in.
I say: "Your face is golden. Your presence always brings me peace. What I am afraid about is that the second I leave your side, I know the enemy will pummel me and steal that peace away from me again."
He says – “Why do you struggle so much?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I am made to suffer all my life?”
– “You’re made for something else other than suffer.”
“But why did I love the lake so much, so much so that I took a swim in the venomous dark waters – the peaceful blue waters that turned dark like the night as soon I dived into it? Why did I fall in love with that demon that became a banshee, her beautiful reassuring voice that became shrieks of hate that filled my spine with terror? Why can I never find that place where I can just sit and be who I am. Just be. Just to rest. Just to not want anything anymore. Just to be have enough. Is that too much to ask for?
– “That is too much to ask for. It is something that you can never earn.”
“So I am doomed then. I have no hope. As long as I live, I will want and never be satisfied, I will desire and never get, I will ask and never find, seek and never discover. I resign myself to a life of misery and discontent.”
– “Rest is something you can never earn. But I am here because I choose to. Not because you found me, but because I found you. My name is Rest.”
“Your name is not Rest. Your name is Saviour. Your name is Great. Your name is Mighty. Your name is Sovereign. Your name is Important. Your name is Too-Important-To-Care-About-My-Minute-Life. Your name is High-And-Lifted-Up-Higher-Than-My-Problems. Rest is too simple a name for you.”
– “Trust me. I am Rest.”
“Trust you? How can I? I can hardly see you. I can hardly feel you. I can hardly hear your voice.”
– “And you blame me for that? Trust me. I am Rest.”
“How can I trust and rest? Trust is too insecure. Trust is too shaky. Trust does not make sense. Trust is too flimsy. Trust is too defined by What-If’s. What if you’re wrong? What if your name is not Rest – and again like all the things I’ve been through will play out again to be false fantasy? I can’t afford to be wrong again.”
– “In that case, maybe you will never find Rest. Maybe you need to let go. Maybe you need to stop trusting your own mind, and your own logic – you say trust is insecure and flimsy and does not make sense. But can you hear yourself? You’re putting your trust in yourself. You think you can find your rest if you look hard enough – look where that has led you. You’re broken. You’re lost. You’re lonely. You can’t trust yourself. Trusting in yourself is as insecure as your trust in that blue lake that turned into a poison lake. Trusting in yourself is as flimsy as that trust you had for the woman who turned out to be a demon. Trusting in yourself is as disastrous as trusting in that dream that played out to be a nightmare.”
I didn’t have anything to say to that.
– “Come back to me when you have exhausted all your trust in other things. When you have run out of all other options. Come back and find me when all your hopes in other things – including yourself – have vanished. Come back to me when you’re all done and undone. I may have an answer for you then.”
I looked out to the horizon that spread out beneath us. We were sitting at a table in the sun, on a balcony overlooking a valley that was beautiful. But I knew that as soon as I left the company of my friend here, I would again be hounded by the dogs, the enemies of my peace, and I would be worse off again. I didn’t want to go back there again. I didn’t want to head back out there unguarded and unprepared. I never wanted to go back out there again.
– “And I don’t want you go to back there again, ever.”
I looked at my friend.
What if he was right? What if he was speaking the truth.
“Alright. I am ready. I am not going back out there. I’ve had enough of lakes and demons and nightmares. I am ready for this...
“Rest. I want Rest. I want to just fall back into the cloud of Rest. I want to drown in the peaceful waters of Rest. I want to settle in the shadow of the tree of Rest. I want to gaze on the face of Rest and not have to search ever again...
“I am ready for Rest...
“Trust. Rest. I’m good to rest now.”
My friend closed his eyes. He grinned, a warm smile of victory appeared on his face. It wasn’t demeaning victorious smile – it meant victory for me. It meant I could be with him always.
This was so simple. So so simple.
Nothing more to be said. Nothing more to do. Just lay back in the sun and rest. It is finished. It is complete.