I have a strange affinity for a BBC show called East Enders. It was one of my mother’s favorite programs, and that somehow rubbed off on me. East Enders is set in a culturally diverse working class neighborhood in the East End of London. Common locations on the show include the local pub, the open-air market, the launderette, and the mini-mart. Characters work long, hard hours in these places, and a common expression when they get too busy at work is “I was rushed off my feet.”
Friends, the entire Outer Banks is rushed off their feet right now and everyone is TIRED. The easing of pandemic restrictions right at the beginning of our summer season brought us very long shifts and very little down time. On top of that is a state-wide worker shortage that has taken its toll on local business owners. October never looked so good.
I have been visiting with my two daughters this week and they, too, are rushed off their feet. One has an active 22-month old, and the other has a 6-year-old boy and 4-year-old twins. Watching them in the daily practice of motherhood is exhausting!
Jesus and the apostles were in the same boat one time when they were tired and needed a break. Or at least they tried to take a break…
Mark 6 (The Message)
30-31 The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.
32-34 So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them.
I feel for our Lord and his friends! Sometimes you just can’t catch a break. I have friends who own a restaurant and this is exactly what Sunday brunch feels like to them. When they first opened, they invited me to do a blessing of their business. I promised to pray for them every Sunday as I drove past their building on my way to church. One summer Sunday, after a nerve-wracking, record-breaking Sunday brunch service, they jokingly asked me if I could skip praying for them for a week….they were rushed off their feet!
When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke—like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them.
But when you love what you do and the people you do it with (and for), you just drop your chin to your chest and press on.
Jesus’ compassion for his sheep was tremendous. But remember this….Jesus is the Messiah, and you are not. When life presses in too hard, come off by yourself and be quiet for a moment. Take a break. Even if it is just in the car during your commute, or those few moments in the morning before the first child awakes. Rest is as much an attitude as it is a cessation of work, so grab a few moments of peace when you can.
Eventually, the season turns into winter and the crowds go home. Eventually, the little ones become adults and leave the house. Eventually, you age out of your profession and retire. Until then, take a deep breath and enjoy a moment of gratitude for life as it is in this moment. You will never pass this way again.