I’m reading Babel by RF Huang at the moment, and getting lots of tidbits to write down in my common place book. Last night, there was a quote which struck a chord with me. I’m going to attempt to explain, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to adequately.
Huang wrote that it was impossible to appreciate heaven unless you had experienced hell. I was having a bath at the time, and as I sank into the hot water, it honestly felt like heaven to me. Reflecting on the day, I realised that in some tiny way I was experiencing a little of what Huang was talking about.
The day had been a good one, not hellish at all. However, I had been up since 430 am after not sleeping at all that night. It was okay though, because I was not feeling particularly tired when I got up. I’d then worked my way though my morning routine (which has grown significantly from this post), in addition to making some milk and some fresh bread and hanging out a load of washing.
I am also looking after my mum’s cats whilst she is away, so I popped over to her house to do that, after which I began homeschooling. In between homeschooling and house work, I also cleared out three storage boxes and made some soup for lunch.
This busyness continued until the gym that evening.
Once back from the gym at 830, I got in three loads of laundry off the line, put on another load so it was ready for the next morning and ran in the bath.
By this point, I’d done over 17000 steps as well as weights at the gym for 40 minutes. I was exhausted. My body was weary and ached and just wanted to go to bed.
As I sank into that water, my whole body cried out in appreciation for its heat to calm those aching muscles. As I took the weight off my feet for perhaps the first time that day, I was so appreciative of the weightlessness of the water.
In that moment, I could not have been happier, more relaxed or more thankful.
Now, I have a bath every night, but I don’t always feel that kind of appreciation or pleasure. The busyness of the day created the perfect conditions for me to get the absolute most out of my bath.
Was the day hell? No, of course not. In fact, it was a good productive day. But because it was so busy and I worked so hard, it made the relaxation and heat of the bath all the more sweeter, and dare I say it, more heavenly?
Healthy habits beget healthy habits, but also healthy habits allow for maximum enjoyment of some of those habits as well. It’s in the working hard that we can fully experience and appreciate the rest. In fact, rest only makes sense when hard work is in the picture also.