Rest a while: “Deepening the Faith” devotional 19

This installment is part of a regular devotional series, “Deepening the Faith,” written by Gordon faculty and staff for the enrichment of the wider College community.

And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.  —Mark 6:31-32

For me, grad school was filled with a lot of coming and going. I was working full-time at Gordon and chipping away at a doctorate at Boston College, which meant shuttling back and forth between the North Shore and the city after work to attend classes a couple nights each week. When I finished my coursework, nights and weekends stayed stuffed with writing, research and more writing for the dissertation. Alongside all the academic pursuits, I tried to reserve the prime hours of each day for time with my wife and two kids.

Grad school demands much of our time and energy, but the rest of life doesn’t necessarily stop when we choose to go back to school. In this environment, it’s easy to forget to rest. We can’t forget to sleep; sure, we may sacrifice sleep in the short-term, but there always comes a time when our bodies demand we catch back up. But sleep is not rest, and rest, though perhaps just as vital to our well-being as sleep, is something we seem to think we can forego for as long as we need to.

By rest, I mean those moments where we slow down, unplug our minds, find some distance from our obligations, and practice a little self-care. Grad school (kids, too) does chew up much of the space for those moments, but somewhere along the way I rediscovered rest in the oddest of places: my coming and going. My commutes became sacred; I’d throw on a podcast and think nothing of the work I’d left or the work I was headed toward. When I moved into the dissertation phase and commuting was no longer necessary, I found the same rest in, of all things, washing the dishes. We’d get the kids in bed, I’d hang out with my wife a little bit, and then I’d pop in my headphones, throw on one of those trusty podcasts or maybe some music, and lose myself in the mindless chore of scrubbing and drying. When the dishes were done, I found myself refreshed and ready for a couple more hours of writing. In this way, rest became a regular part of my routine again, though not in a form I would have ever expected.

When Christ urged the disciples to rest, I always assumed the deserted place he spoke of was the land on the other side of the water. But, of course, by the time they arrived there, the multitudes had beaten them to the spot, hungry for more of their attention. There was to be no rest on land. But, perhaps they’d already found it at sea, amid the steady rowing of their own coming and going.

Jerry Logan
Director of Academic Operations
Jerry Logan joined the Provost’s Office in 2010 and now serves as director of academic operations. A graduate of Gordon, he earned a master’s in higher education administration from the College of William and Mary and a doctorate in higher education from Boston College.