The title of this post is taken from a route in Scotland that passes over the Arrochar Alps in Argyll and Bute. The soldiers who built the original military road across this terrain in the 1750s erected a stone at the highest point, etched with the words, “Rest and be thankful.” The name stuck, and now the scenic overview is referred to “the” Rest and Be Thankful.*
I had occasion to rest and be thankful myself this week. I finished the rough draft for Miss Delightful, a September release. I’m a trifle ahead of schedule, but not as much as you might think. Between revisions, copy edits, proofreading, and formatting, the time will pass quickly.
And no sooner do I complete that draft, than I’m asking myself, “What about the sixth Lady Violet book? You can’t publish the series until you write that. Best be about it, Grace. Or you could write the third Mischief in Mayfair book, because there are THREE cousins that we know about so far. You could least find cover art for that story, come up with a title. Don’t just sit there looking dazed and bewildered!”
There is always another book to write or revise, always research to do, and many worthwhile undertakings have this treadmill-like quality. My mother had to figure out what to feed nine people at every meal for decades. She might send her dinner guests on their way after a spectacular feast, then turn around start defrosting tomorrow’s hamburgers. There’s always another performance, lecture, meal, sermon, or workday that will need our efforts.
But if I never pause to celebrate–another draft complete!–then I am missing a significant part of the joy of being a writer. I did something–I wrote a book! Well intended people work very hard toward that same objective and never achieve it, but Miss Delightful is in the starting blocks and headed for publication. Rest and be thankful!
When a reader leaves a positive review, they are encouraging me to take a moment and be pleased with my books. When we send an appreciative word to the kitchen, we are asking the cooking staff to pause in their very busy work and take a bow. When we tell a kid they did a good job, we’re encouraging pride and joy. These things–joy, a sense of accomplish, permission to bask in a completed task–matter.
They are an antidote to burnout and an empty well. They are an honest and kind expression of appreciation. A verbal pat on the back says, “I see you, I see how hard you work, and I am grateful for your tenacity.”
Last week I wrote about the downsides of grit, but this week, I’m thinking of my own failure to appreciate what grit can produce. Rest, Grace, and be thankful–THEN write another book.
Who has appreciated you, whom do you appreciate? Is there an occasion to rest and be thankful in your life? Three commenters will go on the ARC list for Miss Delectable.
*Wikimedia attribution for that pretty photo: By Richard Harvey – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2725097
I’ve mentioned this before but I write a weekly blog for my professional society’s networking website. Every Thursday (which means by Wednesday afternoon/evening)I submit about 700 words, give or take, and it’s all new material. Every week, 700 flippin’ words! With the Pandemic, it’s not been as easy to write because my usual readers are not emailing me their issues. Sometimes, I repeat material or put a new spin on an old subject, but I try to submit new material every week. Some weeks, it feels like the well has run dry but I still come up with something. And I’ve felt for months that I am blogging down a bottomless, black hole.
A few weeks ago after an especially difficult time getting out the blog, I mentioned to my family, I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep it up. I felt used up and dried up and just blah, like what I write about (Choral Ethics and rehearsal management) doesn’t matter. And I submitted something that week, not my best work, but something.
That Thursday, things were normal but that afternoon, I received an email from my direct boss. She apologized because she MEANT to have contacted me several weeks before, letting me know about their analytics–my blog is consistently in the top 10 every week of ALL posts on the website. For some reason, I started to cry–just when I was feeling most ignored and unnecessary, it seems the opposite is true. My boss told me they’ve been tracking posts for awhile, especially the bloggers, and I’m always in the top 10. It’s been a relief to know I’m NOT blogging down a black hole!
Since that email, it’s easier to write 700 (give or take)words every week and I feel appreciated. And I was surprised.
I did not come into the career of working in the care proffession until I was forty.First I worked in a care home for the elderly.I attended many courses and training sessions and listened to other experienced staff.I had found a truly wonderful job and enjoyed caring for very frail and sick elderly folk.It was hard work but I felt I had a lot to give.Those first years set me up for the rest of my working career.Supporting youngsters with special needs, challenging behaviour,mental health,then my final years back to the elderly.Many times I would feel exhausted and tired and ready to give up when a voice from a elderly lady or man I was caring for would say “” we need you so much and appreciate all you and your team do. “”.It was not a easy job but it was rewarding and my life was so much richer.Now approaching my twilight years I may need some support myself in a few years and I will appreciate them for all they do.The world is full of caring people even in these restless times,do not give up.That’s all folks!!.
This weekend I am struggling with one of those tasks all pet owners eventually confront. It happened so fast, but one of my four legged children just spent 24 hours in an oxygen tent. She’s home now, but most likely not long for this world. Rest and be thankful takes on a different meaning for me right now. I need to rest and let my body deal with the stress. I am thankful for the 14 years she has been part of my life.
It’s a hard thing to go through and you are doing everything you can for your beloved friend.
I’m so sorry!
I am so sorry about your baby. It sounds as she has an excellent Mama who will make the compassionate choices for her.
I appreciate my hubby, who keeps the home fires burning so that I don’t have to. And he’s such a better cook than I (I just don’t have the patience or the interest).
And I think he appreciates me for supporting the household.
It’s nice to have a spouse who is not tied to gender roles!
As yesterday was Armed Forces Day, I thanked my fellow vet friends for their service & our friendships!
I think I will quote some of your words here as my new personal mantra: “[Acknowledgement is] the antidote to burnout and an empty well.”
I already try to live by this policy, but not always as mindfully and often as I should. I am feeling burnt out lately and counting the days until summer, but your post reminded me of how important it is to appreciate others (and reminded me of the times a kind word has helped me keep truckin’ !)
You keep getting more and more profound, Grace. That’s you thinking and I love that your thinking oozes into your stories, maybe invisibly to you. But I love your stories because there is so much human nature truth involved. Your books get me thinking. You are right, giving ourselves a chance to enjoy our successes leads to more successes. To not do so means regenerating self-confidence each time. And that slows ones momentum. Thank you for your words. All of them.
I went to a play one time that was brilliant and fantastic. At the finish of the play, the audience gave the cast a standing ovation and I thought, “I think everyone ought to get a standing ovation after doing an outstanding job at whatever they did an outstanding job at! A Mom who creatively figures out how to manage a family squabble… a customer service agent who goes over and above to make sure a customer is taken care of… a payroll associate who processes a mistake-free payroll.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic for people to get that kind of adulation and kudos for doing a good job? So, every so often, I give people standing ovations when they help me!! I did so at the doctor’s office one time when the phlebotomist got blood out of my very stubborn arm instead of having to go to my hand. I think they thought I might be a little nutty, but I wanted a very memorable way of saying, “thank you”… and, for a moment, they got to rest and celebrate a job that, I imagine, can be very difficult.
My kitties appreciate me (at least twice a day). My friends appreciate me.
And, in turn, I very much appreciate my kitties and my friends. We are a mutual appreciation society! 😀
A dear friend brought me a darling pot of flowering plants for helping her out with recent tough times. And I appreciate her for hauling me back & forth to doctors when I couldn’t see to drive. (Or walk after the knee procedure.) So it’s mutual.
I appreciate my fabulous neighbor who showed up with his 8 foot ladder just after dawn Saturday morning when my idiot fire alarm decided to throw a hissy fit that not even a new battery could fix. Not only did he unplug the nuisance for me from ten feet up on the ceiling, but he brought me a brand new in the pack replacement that I’ll pay him back for that’s got a sealed 10 year battery so the constant power outages won’t be running down a 9 volt at ungodly hours. AND the new one has a carbon monoxide monitor that the old builder special didn’t have. So I’m safe from evil air drifting from the garage.
And I appreciate my surgeons who LISTEN and don’t dismiss my crazy messed up genetics that mean we sometimes have to try seven different permutations and combinations before we find a drug combination I can tolerate. After years of being told my reactions were “subjective” before genetic testing proved I was reporting factually, it’s nice to have miracle workers who don’t argue and accept I know my body pretty well.
I do not remember a time when I didn’t know my best friend, we grew up a block apart and she has been an important support to me my whole life. I appreciate her in the good times, but especially the bad. When my father died last fall, she was the first person I called. We travel together to mark our big birthdays and we were just talking last week about being neighbors in retirement in 20 years and it is such a gift to have someone in my life that I know will still be there as long as they are able. As options open up again, I think we should plan a rest and be grateful get away soon, a night or two out of the city.
Congratulations on finishing your new book! You are a wonder – you have written so many good books and I have appreciated every one of them. I struggle with three paragraphs.
As retirement approaches, I appreciate the people I have worked with over the last 39+ years. I appreciate my husband and son, the parents that I had, and my sisters and cousins who share memories with me. I appreciate our pets although they get on my last nerve at times (3 dogs, 10 cats). Mostly I am just grateful. I have a good life and I appreciate it.
I am ever appreciative of my amazing and patient husband. I can be quite intense at times, and for 43 years and counting, he has calmed me down, accepted me when I could not accept myself, and loved me through thick and thin. Just a small example, I recently had very minor oral surgery. Despite the fact that I was uber cranky (I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, was starving, couldn’t eat because my mouth was still mostly numb, pain was setting in as my mouth began to thaw but I couldn’t take aspirin because my stomach was empty, etc., etc.), he patiently attended to my every whim and need, offering to prepare a variety of soft foods, checking on my pain level at intervals, and just being accepting of the fact that I was having a very bad day. Sometimes just being allowed to be grumpy without judgment or repercussions is a gift in and of itself. I often say he is a better man than I deserve, and he was a gift well worth waiting for (I didn’t meet him until I was 26)! In return, he is appreciative of my intensity in being able to get things done, whether working with contractors during a renovation or handling our finances. We are truly complementary in our skills and temperament. Because we both appreciate what we have together, we guard our relationship above all else.
I am not that good at expressing appreciation, so I will try to do better. I believe it’s because it often feels artificial. People say things to me that are meant to be appreciative but sound false, as if the person is projecting their own needs and doesn’t know the real me at all – “oh you are such a nice person. Bless your heart!” (we are in the south), Well no, I’m not especially nice, rather impatient and curmudgeonly! One thought that is sort of related to this is the need to take time to savor the event or accomplishment that is happening right now instead of immediately focusing on the next task. I remember years ago my cousins from England came to visit. I planned all sorts of terrific events, and I was lying in bed one night after one success planning the next day and realized that I was not enjoying their much longed for visit because I was too intent on the next thing. So Grace, I do hope you take a moment to breathe deeply and smile at all the lovely books you have written which brighten our days and late into the nights before you check the latest one off your list, gear up the ol’ work ethic, and plunge into the next endeavor. We love you.
I appreciate my dad so, so much. I’m disabled, I don’t drive, and for over a year now during a terrible pandemic he’s brought me food and medication and done other things for me so I didn’t have to leave my house. I’m so lucky. He’s honestly my rock.
But I honestly don’t know if anyone appreciates *me.* I’d hope my best friend does but we’re not really mushy about our feelings towards each other, so I’m not sure (oh man, typing that sounds awful). As for rest and be thankful, I’ve finished a novel in the past and taken time to be thrilled I could do it. This year, though, I’m stuck in a non-writing rut–but at least I’m reading a lot, and I’m excited for Miss Delectable!
I guess my best “rest and be thankful” really is the time and inclination to read, at the moment. To know that even if I don’t feel like I can write right now, it’s okay, it’s not going to be the end of the world. I’ll feel like doing it again someday, and then maybe I’ll finally write that novel that’s been languishing for years. I’m also thankful for learning how to revise enough to do have done one pass over the novel I finished a few years ago. I’d never done it before (worked on revising a whole novel!) so it was a great first step for me. Hopefully I’ll feel like doing more revising soon. 🙂
Have a good day, Grace.
There are many, many people I appreciate. There are many, many things for which I am thankful, including Grace Burrowes’ books.
However, taking over from my late father, I have an evil genius for giving the awkward gift and conditional appreciation. The time, thought and $$ are welcomed.
And I live not far from Good Grief, Idaho and Yahk, British Columbia.