“Ten minutes is all I need,” Sweetgraw (my grandmother) would say just before she leaned back against the chair and close her eyes. It didn’t matter where we were but each day Sweetgraw would need a ten minute rest.
I remember this one particular moment she and I had been visiting with my aunt in New Jersey. I was thirteen and we made the bus trip over to New York City. We had been walking all morning and had an impressive lunch. I had nothing else to do but sit and wait so I timed her. She leaned back in her chair and shut her eyes. Her jawbone became slack and every few seconds her hand would twitch. Just under ten minutes it appeared as if a rosy blush settled over her cheeks and her eyes fluttered open. She would sit up straight, take a moment to stretch and her eyes would open wide.
“Where are we going next,” she’d inquire, rested and renewed.
My grandmother was not one to miss out on an opportunity to do something, maybe it’s inherent in my spirit. What impressed me the most about her short rests was how she had come to know her body, what she needed in order to make the most of the day. For her ten minutes was all she needed to discard the sluggish beast that can settle in our bones in the afternoon making it hard to be productive.
This came to mind for me today because I was feeling sluggish after lunch. I still had certain goals set for the day but my body and mind were not cooperating. I could hear the excuses begin to form, “I’m too tired to do that today. I’ll put it off till tomorrow.” But then I thought about Sweetgraw and her ten minute rests.
I laid on the couch, set my iPhone alarm for twenty minutes (not sure if ten would really be enough) and closed my eyes. It wasn’t a deep sleep that I encountered but I felt my entire body relax. Sure enough it felt as if an energy began to creep back into the marrow of my bones and suddenly I didn’t need to keep my eyes closed anymore. I thought for sure the alarm was about to go off, that I’d possibly dozed off without realizing it for the full twenty minutes. Can you believe it was almost ten minutes to the second?
Maybe I inherited that ability too! I’ll admit I’m so glad I didn’t fall victim to laziness. Guilt would have surely set in especially since meeting with my dear friend, Lynn, for lunch today.
Me and Lynn at lunch.
The man is 82 years old and he was talking to me about climbing up and down the ladder around his house powerwashing his windows and cleaning out gutters. Really? He is one reason I attempted the ‘short rest’ rather than giving up the afternoon all together. Lynn always inspires me and reminds me that it’s never too late for ____________ (fill in the blank).
I met Lynn four years ago after his wife of 50+ years passed away. I was leading the Catholics Returning Home program at our parish and he came to the group one evening and declared, “I never bothered with the church after my children were born. It’s been about 40 or so years since I’ve really been involved. I figured if I ever want to see my wife again I might ought to give it a try.”
Lynn ended up being one of our team members the following Catholics Returning Home session and continued in that ministry for four years and RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation for Adults) for two years as a sponsor.
When we met today one thing he said that brought Sweetgraw and her 10-minute rests to mind was how he never wanted to stop moving, he didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity because we never know when that final day is ours.
So who knows, 10 minutes might be all it takes to experience a life-time of opportunities and accomplishments. I think the real trick is learning to listen to your body, what it does take for you and not to over-extend or push through therefore you can be ready and able when the time is needed.
What is your ‘ten minute’ trick? I’d love to hear! Blessings Shannon