Occasionally, I catch myself humming that old but still popular Patsy Cline ballad, Stop the World and Let Me Off:
Round an’ around an’ around Round an’ around an’ around Round an’ around an’ around And around and around.
Oh, stop the world and let me off I’m tired of goin’ round an’ round I played the game of love and lost So stop the world and let me off.
My humming raises a yellow flag to warn me I need rest. Like on sheet music, where the rest symbol indicates an interval of quietness. The beat goes on around me, but I pause. In life, it’s the place where I step away from the fast and furious or the frustrations and discouragements to catch my breath, to recharge and just be.
Sometimes, rest is a place where I’m alone and quiet with my thoughts, or better yet, no thoughts at all. Other times rest is a place with good friends, like the one described by an old Marine buddy of Chuck Swindoll’s.
After many years of not seeing each other, Chuck asked how he was doing. The friend replied, “I miss that old fellowship all the guys in our outfit used to have down at the [tavern]. Man, we’d sit around, laugh, tell stories, … really let our hair down. It was great! I just haven’t found anything to take the place of that great time we used to enjoy. I ain’t got nobody to admit my faults to… to have them put their arms around me and tell me I’m still okay.”*
That guy needed a refuge, a place to rest, where he could stop the world and get off for a moment. Preferably, a place where another listens and wraps him in a hug. A place where he finds a friend who encourages him so that when rest time ends, and he must play or sing onward, then he can do so with renewed courage and strength of breath.
We all need such shelters for rest, and I am fortunate to have them. Places where I can stop the world and step into the hugs of friends wherever I am in life and who will tell me I’m still okay. Places of refuge through which God Himself … reached down from on high, [and] He took me; He drew me out of mighty waters. He delivered me from my strong enemies … He brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. (Psalm 18:16-17, 19; NRSV)
Where is your favorite place for rest? Where do you go to stop going ’round and ’round, to catch your breath, and to be with friends who delight in you … just as you are?
Chuck Swindoll, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, p. 278.