In The House at Pooh Corner, Winnie the Pooh is asked what he likes doing best in the world. He starts to say eating honey, but then reflects that there is “a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” Pooh moves on to tell Christopher Robin that actually, the best thing in all the world is “Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying, ‘What about a little something?’ and Me saying, ‘Well, I shouldn’t mind a little something, should you, Piglet,’ and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing.” Christopher Robin says, “What I like doing best, is Nothing.…it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh nothing,’ and then you go and do it. It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” *
As we inch closer to the summer months, we may be starting to look forward to the possibilities that the season could bring. Most of all, we may be hoping for a more relaxed pace to life, a time when things slow down a little, and we can find some rest and renewal. Some among us, though, may have trouble with the idea of relaxing and slowing down ― or even if we want to do it, we find it very hard to shift out of our more usual compulsion to accomplish things. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I count myself in that group!) If you find yourself in that category too, I encourage you to read the passage above again ― Pooh and Christopher Robin might help us reframe things!
Perhaps we can start to find rest even now, before we get to summer. We may begin to notice the delicious anticipation of something sweet. We can appreciate the joy of being with favorite friends. We might become delightfully aware that it is a hummy sort of day outside. We may find it fascinating to listen to all the things we can’t hear. And most of all, we might occasionally find time to not bother. We might even start to notice that in all these experiences we are brought closer to God!
So the next time someone asks you what you are going to do, consider saying, “Oh, nothing,” and then go and do it.
*From a paraphrase in The Way of Love: Rest (A little book of guidance), New York: Church Publishing, 2018.