Tuesday, February 20, 2007

it's worth doing nothing and having a rest

this is dedicated to my dear friend mr ryan koch...and to all my communality family who struggle with an overactive protestant work ethic (you might not know who you are...ask ryan).
thanks to Simon Carey Holt (prof. of practical theology at Ridley in Melbourne).

(From Mr. Curly to Vasco Pyjama)
Dear Vasco,
In response to your question, “What is worth doing and what is worth having?” I would like to say simply this. It is worth doing nothing and having a rest; in spite of all the difficulty it may cause, you must rest, Vasco — otherwise you will become RESTLESS! I believe the world is sick with exhaustion and dying of restlessness.

While it is true that periods of weariness help the spirit to grow, the prolonged, ongoing state of fatigue, to which our world seems to be rapidly adapting, is ultimately soul-destroying as well as earth-destroying. The ecology of evil flourishes and love cannot take root in this sad situation. Tiredness is one of our strongest, most noble and instructive feelings. It is an important aspect of our CONSCIENCE and must be heeded or else we will not survive.

When you are tired you must HAVE that feeling and you must act upon it sensibly — you MUST rest like the trees and animals do. Yet tiredness has become a matter of shame! This is a dangerous development. Tiredness has become the most suppressed feeling in the world. Everywhere we see people overcoming their exhaustion and pushing on with intensity — cultivating the great mass mania which all around is making life so hard and ugly — so cruel and meaningless — so utterly graceless — and being congratulated for overcoming it and pushing it deep down inside themselves as if it were a virtue to do this.

And of course, Vasco, you know what happens when such strong and natural feelings are denied — they turn into the most powerful and bitter poisons with dreadful consequences. We live in a world of these consequences and then wonder why we are so unhappy.
So I gently urge you, Vasco, do as we do in Curly Flat — learn to curl up and rest — feel your noble tiredness — learn about it and make a generous place for it in your life and enjoyment with surely follow.

I repeat: it’s worth doing nothing and having a rest.
Yours sleepily, Mr. Curly x x x
The Curly Pyjama Letters (by Michael Leunig,Viking, 2001, 26-28.)

1 comment:

billy said...

Just hearing someone articulate this makes me feel more rested...how true it is that we easily succumb to the ideology of doing/achieving....but it is hard to balance the need to rest with the need to make ends meet..which requires a boldness and willingness to begin rethinking what the "ends" are or should be in the first place....I guess this kind of rethinking and reimagining is what we're hoping the church can ultimately help society do.....just this morning I was reading an article in Time about what it will take for American school children to keep up with and be competitive in the global economy...the article made some good points, and I admit the need to be forward thinking in terms of education and preparing our children for the future. But I still felt very uncomfortable with some of the article's implicit assumptions about the need to be competitive, the need to be at the cutting-edge, and the importance of getting our children to that point. I found myself wondering about Jesus saying "unless you become like little children......"-where is the line drawn between bringing our children up into responsible and productive adult life and trying to make them aggressive career warriors who are intensively driven to develop the next innovation without much forethought to how that might actually affect society long-term? Obviously, there are only a small number of people who can fit this mold to begin with...what about the rest of us? Even thinking about it can make you weary!