This afternoon I had to unexpectedly drop everything and rush to pick up my stepson from school. My partner was off getting a covid test, and it was taking much longer than expected. (Good news: he's negative!) The route from our house to the school is lovely: past hayfields and quaint old houses and two dairy farms. I slowed as I drove past the cows, feeling my whole body relax as I saw their black and white bodies bright against the green grass. They grazed placidly, unaware of any concern.
I continued driving down small, narrow roads lined with old stone walls, and I breathed deeply. While I hadn't wanted to step away from my laptop - there are messages to write! Emails to send! Hymns to choose! Protocols to update! Notes to type up! Calls to return! - but I realized that driving past hayfields and cows for 30 minutes was exactly what I needed.
I felt my body relax. I felt my vision expand. I felt God get close to my soul again.
Don't be afraid to step away, Good People! There's plenty of research on the benefits of taking breaks, getting up and moving, making space for our minds to rest. It's important to set aside our tasks now and then, whether that task is a spreadsheet or laundry or watching the news. Step away, look up, and remember that through all this madness the cows still placidly graze. The bees still visit the flowers. The moon still rises. The tides still shift. Your heart still beats.