“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating. There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather” (John Ruskin).
IN OUR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT, THERE ARE MANY RICH SOURCES OF REFRESHMENT. From place to place, from season to season, and even from day to day, we’re presented with such an energizing variety of natural phenomena, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that these were meant to be refreshing to us. Variety is, after all, what refreshes us. A change in what we’ve been experiencing is what recharges us for new experience. And so, in nature, we’re given much variety, and consequently many chances for renewal and refreshment. We should not only be grateful for these, but we should experience them deeply and not let their rejuvenating power be lost on us.
Few of us would deny that we need to be refreshed nowadays. To say that modern life is exhausting is a considerable understatement. It uses us up, consumes our energies, and depletes our resources. But let’s not jump to the wrong conclusion. Words like exhaustion, depletion, and the like aren’t bad words. Our main goal is not to see how rested we can be at the end of life. Whatever resources we’ve been given, these were meant to be used, and we should be willing to spend and be spent. One of my dearest friends is fond of saying, “If heaven is supposed to be a place of rest, I intend to be tired when I get there.”
Having exhausted ourselves in doing good things, however, we need to be refreshed. And while, as we’ve suggested, we’re surrounded by sources of refreshment, we need to seek these out. And we need not only to seek refreshing changes in our experience, but occasionally to seek the refreshment of solitude and quietness.
Ultimately, the kind of refreshment we most need can only come from personal relationships, and that’s why it pleases us so much to be in the presence of “refreshing” individuals. These people are worth their weight in gold, and we need to actively cultivate friendships with them. But even more important, we need to cultivate the qualities of refreshment in our own characters. We need to be refreshing people!
“You find yourself refreshed by the presence of cheerful people. Why not make earnest effort to confer that pleasure on others?” (L. M. Child).