Today, the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Matthew gives us a passage of Christ speaking to his apostles in what has almost has become a greeting card found in the sympathy section:
Two months ago, a friend overdosed on drugs and attempted to cut herself with the hopes of death. The only reason she lived, she tells me, was that the sleeping pills and pain pills put her to sleep, causing her to drop the utility knife just beside her bed. She woke up the next morning, bloody arms and chest, ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated, but convinced her survival was purposeful, and though she couldn’t see it now, she was willing to find out. Desperately laboring and burdened beyond the capacity of one mind, she longed for a yoke to plow through the tragedy she saw her life as.
“I will give you rest.”
Friends came to her aid, and invited her to live with them as long as she needed. They offered their ears to her at the end of her labored days. The labor and burden of letting anxious thoughts escalate were given rest. She slept again.
“I will give you rest”
She began an intensive outpatient therapy group (IOP). Suicide survivors and others who wrestle with mental illness becoming wounded healers. She shared her story and knowing she was not alone was akin to resting her head on a pillow of understanding.
“I will give you rest”
She had mentioned in her sharing that as part of her recovery she ate healthier, exercised more frequently (having joined a gym), and jokingly added that kale had re-entered her diet. The next day, at IOP, one of her new friends handed her a container of baby kale. Rest.
We speak bible verses at times on automatic, as if someone showing their wounds to us pulls a string from our back and our voice box echoes. “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.”
Recently, in speaking with my friend, she told me that this verse meant nothing to her until her friend gave her a container of kale. The Gospel became something alive, with multiple piercings, bipolar, and a smile that warmed the chill of her aching heart. She saw how in these two months, she came with her labors and burdened. Rest came in many forms along the way; mostly recently as green-super foods.