One of the first jobs I worked at was as a salesman in my father’s company. Sales is a tough line if ever there is one, but the advantage I had was having my father as a boss. It was like an athlete having a personal coach, for that was what he was to me, my guide in every step I took into the world of business. One day he decided that he would increase the price of the product I was selling by nearly a hundred per cent, as profit margins had started dipping dangerously. I was shocked.
“Dad,” I shouted in anger and frustration, “I can’t sell at this new rate!”
“Take the day off Bob,” he shouted.
“What?” I asked incredulously.
“Just take today off,” he said. “Go for a movie, stay at home, but just take the day off.”
I did just that, and I went back to sales the next day and sold well at the new price. This happened quite a few times under him, when instead of allowing me to break my head over a problem, he always told me to leave the problem alone and give myself a break.
My father never asked me where I went, and the first time, he had made this suggestion, nor had I any plan as to where I should go. I just got on my bike and drove down the road. I sat for a while at the beach, but sea sands however calming the effect of the sea is no place to sit on, on a hot day. So I drove to the hills but even there I felt a restlessness.
It was then that I found this place of worship. It was an old church, stone walls and ancient flooring. I entered, found it empty and sat in the last pew. I did not pray at first, all I did was sit and allow my self to relax. There was a peace and stillness that took my mind away from price lists and other difficulties and I felt my restless mind quietening down.
Years before this experience, as a youngster, I used to take the public transport to school. The bus was an old Fargo, which used to groan and moan as it carried the huge crowd inside to its destination. There was always the smell of grease and petrol inside and added to the stale sweat of my fellow passengers, it was not a nice way to travel to the place of learning which anyway had no attraction for me.
But at one particular spot, after the bus had stopped at the railway station, she with lighter load used to pick up speed and chug faster to the next stop which was a tall white washed church, who’s name I don’t remember. All I do remember was a statue of Christ atop the church with his arms open, and above the words, “Come Ye Apart and Rest Awhile”
To a weary, tired youngster like me, the words couldn’t have been more inviting. I never ever got off the bus and never tried out the truth of the invitation, but in all probability, it was those same words of welcome which came back to my memory as I entered that old stone church later.
“Come Ye Apart and Rest Awhile”
“Take the Day Off Bob”
Two sets of words that ring so near each other.
My father passed away a few years ago, but even now in days of stress and struggle, I hear those words, ever so gently being whispered into my ears, and as I listen with tear in my eye, I feel my heavenly Father beckon, “Come Ye apart and rest awhile..!”
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