The life we deserve

This past week while on vacation with my family, my twin companions have been two books: Rest is Resistance by Tricia Hersey, the founder of the Nap Ministry, and South to America by Imani Perry a professor of African American studies at Princeton. Both written by inspiring black women, both with a message that resonates with my soul at this season of my life. Two quotes I keep coming back to over and over again…

It helps you to remember that out of disregard, the people imagined freedom. Again and again. Our imaginative speculation is part of the tradition. Imani Perry wrote while reminiscing about the trauma of our history.

Rest is our divine right. Rest isn’t a luxury or privilege. Rest is reparations. We must rest like our lives depend on it because it does. Tricia Hersey writes these words with the conviction of someone who knows from lived experience. It reminds me of the old saying, I don’t trust advice from people who ain’t never been through anything.

And what have we been through? Everything it seems. So much so that we’re just now beginning to do the work to unlearn destructive beliefs about ourselves and behaviors and habits that don’t serve our best interests. I’m talking about myself of course. And the habits I refer to are the lies of grind and hustle culture that keep us more exhausted than fulfilled. Too exhausted for the necessary moments of clarity needed to see the truth and change our lives.

Forty years in and I just took my first vacation where I’ve been able to truly rest. I had to believe I deserved to rest first though right? Before I left, in the company of good friends I was reminded that the word deserve speaks to our full humanity, our divine right and dignity as a person. Often our expectations are rooted in either greed, arrogance, or ignorance. But deserve… deserve speaks to something else.

This evening my wife and I left the kids at the beach house (I had to pause just to reflect on the near absurdity of that previous line… until I remembered what I’ve been learning). Holding hands, we reminisced about our dreams. Who would have thought…I mused out loud. We did, she reminded me. We did. In truth, we dreamed all of this, the life we have together right now, the hopes that have materialized. We’re still dreaming.

Do you always get what you deserve? It depends on what you think you deserve I guess. But what I know for me right now, is that my mind, body, and soul are being restored with a new practice of rest that I fully intend to upend how I live my life on the regular.

I can see it now, sabbaths with the family biking or movie watching, dinners around the table, playing Out of Bounds while learning new things about my daughters. Work that has its place, aligned to my values, but with the financial freedom to emancipate myself and those I love from the grind culture that terrorizes our minds, bodies, and souls. And perhaps one day, an opportunity to spread this gospel of freedom and rest to the masses. First things first though, I’ve got to create space for it to flourish in my own life.

Me and my queen
The crew
The perfect sunset



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