Abigail Bobo

on cultivating rest // the story of the rocking chair

Abigail Bobo
on cultivating rest // the story of the rocking chair

I'm stopping in the middle of a particularly hectic work week to write this,
because it's time to hit pause.
Because I recognize that
it's time for me to cultivate rest.

This is an antique rocker that has been handed down among my family for generations. 
We think it was made in the 1870's, but no one is sure
because it's been through so many people.
It was made to last.

It's really, really comfortable.

Built with roomy proportions, a perfectly curved back and a wide place to lay your head, 
this rocking chair is my new haven. 
I feel safe rocking in this creaky old chair.
I don't know enough about my family to know who all sat in this rocker, 
but knowing the modern-day Bobo family, they probably did some hard work.
They knew about the need for rest.


Anyone that has spent more than twenty minutes with me knows that I'm a task-oriented overachiever. 
I push myself, and then push myself again until I can't push any more.
To be honest, I'm addicted to getting things done, accomplished and checked off the list.
If you're reading this, I'll bet you can identify.

This month, I've been attending a Christian disciplines class at my local church. 
We've been discussing how to find rest, 
whether that means practicing meditation, enjoying a nap or taking a day off from working.
We talked about how Christians believe that God created the earth, and that he took a day off at the end of it.
In other words, our very world was founded with the idea that we should regularly hit pause.
There's some kind of deep, almost circadian rhythm to our lives that gets out of kilter if we don't stop to rest.  

A quote from the class;

"Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop when we are finished. We do not stop when we complete our phone calls, finish our project, get through this stack of messages, or get out this report that is due tomorrow.
We stop because it is time to stop.
-Wayne Muller

It hit me really hard.
No one is going to make me stop.
There will always be 100000 things on my list to do.
I have to stop myself.

So I brought my ancestral chair in from the garage, gave it a good dusting and put it next to the window. 
I found a comfy pillow and a blanket that I knitted in high school.
And I just sit.


I don't know what rest looks like for you.
And it's been established that I'm famously no expert in resting.
But whether your rest looks like an ancient rocker,
an earlier bed time,
intentionally taking a day to be with family,
going to a yoga class,
enjoying a coffee on the porch in the morning, 
turning off your phone,
or doing something creative,
I encourage you to find your own rest.


Medium format film photograph. Scanned by PhotoVision Prints.