Word of the day, 18th March 2015

respite /ˈrɛspaɪt/ (noun)
– a pause from exertion; interval of rest
– a temporary delay
– a temporary stay of execution; reprieve

I was unable to write a word of the day earlier, and so I was considering taking a break, when this word came to mind.  So here it is, after a short respite /ˈrɛspaɪt/.

I think I first heard this word, or began to understand what it means, in relation to care for someone who is unwell.  “Respite care is the provision of short-term accommodation in a facility outside the home in which a loved one may be placed. This provides temporary relief to those who are caring for family members, who might otherwise require permanent placement in a facility outside the home.

If, for example, a husband is having to take care of his wife 24 hours a day because she is suffering from some illness, like dementia for example, he perhaps has no time to do some of the basic things, such as shopping, etc.  His wife may be placed in respite care for a few days at a time so that the husband has time to himself and can get some other things done.

This is also another word that is in an old hymn we sung recently at church:

“Not the labour of my hands
Can fulfil [Your] law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
[You] must save, and [You] alone.”

“You” (in the original, “Thou”) is referring to God;  it is a hymn to God.

In other words, the hymn-writer is saying that he can do nothing to save himself, and he says that even if he could keep his zeal (fervent or enthusiastic devotion) for God and keeping His law without even a moment’s rest or pause (“respite”), it would not be enough to save him!  Only God can save him, and God has done this through sending the Lord Jesus to die for the hymn-writer’s sins; and my sins; and yours also, if you put your trust in Christ.

Have a good evening. 🙂

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