My summer break is over.  Tomorrow I start my 2nd year of medical school.  Sadness overwhelms my soul.

Ironically, I hadn’t been very restful for most of my summer break.  During the 2 weeks I was back in California, I was busy meeting up with family and friends.  During the 8 weeks of doing research in Chicago, I slept less than during the school year (I woke up at 5 AM to beat the traffic).  I started exercising, and reviewed some for the board exam next year, moved twice, etc.  I wasn’t burning out with school, but I managed to fill up all my time with various activities instead of resting.

The night after my last day of research, I went to my church retreat, where the theme was “rest.”  My pastor preached something about how finding rest isn’t necessarily just physical or just doing nothing, but something about finding rest in God or something along those lines.  I would have a better summary, but I was really sleep-deprived from the last few days of finishing up my research project that I… found much-needed physical rest during his sermon.  But that retreat did lead me to think more about rest.

Firstly, I realized I need physical rest before I can find spiritual (or any other kind) of rest.  How could I find rest in God if I’m too busy sleeping in the middle of my pastor’s sermons?

Secondly, I realized, as my pastor said, that being lazy isn’t necessarily restful.  If we’re hungry, we need to eat.  However, filling our stomachs with unhealthy food ultimately makes us feel more lethargic and uncomfortable.  Only by filling ourselves with healthy and balanced meals can we really improve our energy and spirit.  Likewise, filling up my days with directionless activities and unhealthy habits ultimately won’t bring me rest.  I need to be smart about how I rest too.

I think I did a relatively good job of smartly resting for the past 2 weeks.  I’ve been getting enough sleep and alone-time; I’ve been getting a little bit of studying done too; I’ve had times of going out with friends; and I’ve somehow been more blessed at church and Bible study too.  The zealous part of me wishes I could have done more of each.  But I think it’s ok that a time of rest is not without some healthy number of regrets.  If I had somehow meticulously executed my rest plans perfectly to the nanosecond, I imagine I would have forgotten to rest at all.

Anyways, school starts tomorrow.  I hope I can adapt into a new equilibrium of work and rest.

Simeon Koh