“Choosing Rest.” Fiction. Based on a True Habit.

“Find me, follow me, like me. . .”

—Artemis

“Choosing Rest.”

Fiction. Based on a True Habit.

By Leanna Glenn Markham

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.

It all comes down to choice,
every moment, building to hours,
and days, and weeks, rolled into months,
wadded into hard-packed habits.
That little movement to the screen
or to the page.
The choice to read—Can that be wrong?

Unless it piles into hours and years of
mind-candy consumption,
rotting the incisors of wit.
Unless it takes bites out of
sleep time, the dark, cozy nest
that births the very refreshment
I seek on the page.

And where is the fine line between
fruitless habit and addiction?
And is it fruitless?
Not entirely.
But then, I suppose
an addict might say that.

Is it worse now that I can check out
library books with a touch of a finger
on my phone.
How many have I read since
The libraries closed doors and
opened this handheld window?

It’s good. This way I don’t need to leave
my lamp burning into my beloved’s eyes
As he tries to sleep.
It’s a courtesy, I tell myself,
a kindness.
Besides, I’ve taken books
to bed since before I could read.
They help me sleep.

I know what you’re going to say.
If you’re in the book camp,
you’re already incensed that I’ve
suggested it could be a problem.
If you’re not, you’ll offer chamomile tea.

It tastes like dirt.

Then a breeze lighter than breath
speaks peace to me.
Acceptance.
Openness to the thought
that a restless fear
convinces me that I need
to read till I can’t read more.

Yes, the worlds open through words.
But they will be there for me.

The wind picks up a bit.
Blowing through my hair.
It’s cool, not biting.
Refreshing, as if I stood
on the shore.
When I breathe it in,
I sense its transforming power.
I already have everything I need.

If I dip my hands in the ocean
I cannot hold it for long.
Yet the ocean remains,
grand, powerful beyond imagining,
though just a physical thing.

I begin to see that rest is good,
like the drawing in and out of waves,
Like the ebbing and flowing of tides.
Peace and secure quiet
are threaded into the fabric of
wholesome days and nights.

I can choose to read.
I can choose to rest.

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