It's All About Nothing

By Patti Pateros, Director of Community Building

I woke up at 8:15 - the latest I had slept since I don't even remember when. It was Saturday morning, December 5 - less than three weeks before Christmas. I had not started my shopping, baking or decorating. And I didn't care. It was the first Saturday in months that I didn't have to be anywhere, do anything, or see anyone. So I decided to just kick back and do nothing. That lasted until about 10:30 - when I started to feel guilty. So I hopped in the shower, threw on some clothes, and flew out of the house to do . . . something. I wasn't sure where I was headed or what I was doing, but I knew I couldn't just sit and do nothing. I went to the mall, wandered around for several hours, but ended up accomplishing . . . nothing. (Okay, I've watched too many episodes of Seinfeld.)

Why is it that we can't sit still? Why do we feel guilty doing nothing . . . especially when we know nothing might be the best thing to do?

As most of you know, I am a workaholic. Great for the parish; not so much for my personal life. My job has become an obsession and my mind never shuts down. I was okay with this until a little glitch named Charlie came into my life. My first grandchild was born in September. Just when I thought I learned how to juggle, another ball was thrown in the air.

On Saturday, January 23, Holy Comforter will offer women the opportunity to learn that doing nothing might be the most productive thing one can do. Rest Stop Ahead is a women's retreat led by Sue Priebe, a licensed clinical psychologist and Clinical Director of the Samaritan Counseling Center, with a MA in Theology and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Her practice includes treatment for depression, anxiety, trauma, life transitions, motherhood, family and parenting issues, and spiritual growth and concerns. In other words, she knows women - and she knows them well. Sue has written, "Rest stops are indispensable on a long road trip. So too it is with life. Our schedules are crowded with important and valuable destinations such as work, our children's sporting events and musical performances, our faith communities, and commitments to paying the bills and keeping up the house and yard. There are times when we need to pull over to the side of the road, get out of the car and get some distance from the constant hum of the tires."

Sue understands that is isn't easy to take these breaks . . . "it seems unjustified and a bit luxurious to stop and take the time to tend to our needs." But without these rests, we won't have the energy, the focus, or the means to continue on to the next leg of our journey. Parishioner Barbara Haljun, co-founder of the women's group GreenHouse, will join Sue as together we figure out what we need to pack for our journey and what we can leave behind; we map out the direction of our journey, taking into consideration any detours we might encounter; and we appreciate the necessity of taking the next exit to the nearest rest stop when we're feeling fatigued.

The retreat will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a special liturgy in the Great Hall, and will include ice breaker activities, conversation, prayer, lunch - and, of course, rest. The day will end by 2:00 p.m. Please join us for this time set aside especially for women - of all ages and stages of life. The rest will do you good. (Reservations are required. Click here >>>)

Finally, I have to share with you my favorite rest stop - the place I go when I know I need a break. Spending time with my grandbaby Charlie is by far the most important, peaceful and relaxing thing I have found to do in a very long time. When I'm with him, I do nothing . . . except feed him, burp him, change his diaper, and watch him smile and slowly drift off to sleep. It's the most wonderful bit of nothing-ness a grandmother can do.