“Tired nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep!” (Edward Young).
MOST BIOLOGICAL ORGANISMS, INCLUDING OUR OWN BODIES, REQUIRE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF REST. No machine can run indefinitely without ever being turned off for repair, and so it is with us: if exhaustion is not followed by restoration, trouble arises.
It is easy to see the need for physical restoration. Our bodies run down and have to be allowed to recharge. But other kinds of restoration are just as important, if not more so. For example, our minds will wear out if we don’t allow them to rest on a regular basis. The same is true with our emotions and our spirits. When we feel spent, we need to allow our inner resources to be refilled and replenished.
To say that people are busy these days is to say the obvious. And since we’re busy doing things we deem important, we may feel we can’t take time for restoration. But renewal and restoration aren’t luxuries; they are essentials. If we neglect the restorative side of life, we destroy the very tools by which our work has to be done.
We give a great gift to those around us when we make restoration a priority in our own lives. When we wear ourselves out and never experience any refreshment, not only do we become tired, but we become tiresome to others. So doing what is necessary to replenish our bodies and spirits is not a selfish act; it has a refreshing effect on everyone who comes in contact with us.
Many of us are engaged in work that involves restoration in one way or another. In the world around us, everything tends to degrade, and so there is a constant need for restoration. Houses have to be repaired, and cars have to be fixed. Social problems have to be solved, and human institutions have to be revitalized. When you think about it, much of the activity of the human race is for the purpose of restoring something that has diminished or become dilapidated. But as important as it is to try to “make the world a better place,” we miss the real value of restoration if we don’t work on ourselves. We’re fighting a losing battle if we’re concerned with restoring the external world, yet we neglect the restoration of our own hearts and minds.
“The problem of restoring to the world original and eternal beauty is solved by the redemption of the soul” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).