“In life as in war there are times when the wisest course is simply to stand still, to rest on one’s arms, to watch and to wait. When a mist of uncertainty enshrouds us and life seems to come to a pause, when we do not know just what to do, it is best to await the sunshine of revealing that will show us our way. To active, nervous, energetic natures, keenly hungering for action, the hours of waiting are hard. But they are often necessary; they are part of the discipline of life. It requires more courage sometimes to survive the dull, dead tedium of a siege than the tingling, thrilling exhilaration and excitement of the perils of a close fight.” ~ William George Jordan
There is a time for pushing forward and a time for hunkering and whittling. Both are equally important to sustained progress in living. The key, of course, is found in timing it right.
Hunker and whittle when you should act and your life will stagnate. Push when you should be tarrying and you will burn out prematurely. The oscillation of rest and action are fundamental to effective living and learning to discern and cooperate with the rhythmic pulsations is one of the most important lessons in life that anyone – especially those with a naturally energetic nature – must learn.
Some people take a while to learn their lessons. They charismatically and often monomaniacally try to force nature, the world around them, their circumstances, etc. to conform to their wishes as they seek to accomplish their goals. They seek to impose their will, through intention, or their might through physical force in a way that ignores the larger cycles and seasons in which their worlds are contained. Such people end up wasting their lives (and occasionally losing them) hunting down the Moby Dick’s in their world in an effort to avenge the wounds they received on previous hunts.
Man cannot control nature, neither is he the master of the universe. He is a steward of power, a focus of authority and a means of extending control into the range of creation for which he is responsible. To do so effectively he must learn to balance action and rest.
This balance is not easily struck in the world today. We in the western world, particularly in the American model, are conditioned from a very young age to push and push and when that isn’t enough, to push a little more. Is this a healthy and sustainable approach to living? I have to wonder if we’re not missing much of what is available of living by failing to notice the rests that do appear on the sheet music of life if you are watching and listening carefully to the world around you.