+[desperately seeking Sabbath]+

I slogged in to my mountainside window of this coffeeshop today, my Sabbath day this week, bent over with the burden of anxiety and pinched with a herniated worldview. I did not wake today lighting the figurative candles of my Sabbath day. Instead I awoke simply to my flesh. I am nervous about much, anxious about more and there is a low whimper about my disposition this morning.

This week we are on winter break.  The girls classes have winter break and spring break as well. Lots of breaks here to enjoy the out of doors. But what I thought would be a calmer, even relaxing, week has suddenly been filled to the point of overflow. That happens sometimes.  What I know to do when that happens, when I cant clear my mind,  is make sure that I have time somewhere for rest. Sabbath rest. This week called for that rest on a Tuesday.

I sit at a rough-hewn, honeyed slab of wood made into a windowside bar. The stool on which I sit is black nappa leather floating on a stainless base. Though my Pandora plays 100 Instrumental Hymns in my ears, I can hear conversations about me: moms gossiping about women from their neighborhood whom they dont like, men planning ministry options for the church across the street, a couple flirting their morning away. Why am I here again?


Beyond the window rises Pikes Peak. I watch it in between typing sentences as if Im seeking my next thoughts from its grandeur. The firepit on the patio before me exclaims beautiful songs of flame though no one stops to hear. Next door, a personal training gym, the kind where only one appointment exists at a time, a rushing dad brings his infant to work with him, still strapped in his car carrier. Why am I here again?

I flip back through my Sabbath notes to find my direction once more, to teach myself once more. Sabbath keeping is more art than science. It is more poetry than arithmetic, I read. It is something we get a knack for more than memorize procedures about. It is like painting: done by numbers, it comes off stiff and blotchy. But done with discipline and imagination and passion, it both captures and enhances life.

I stare at grandeur once more.

I read my notes again. Sabbath keeping is grounded in a stark refusal I make with myself. ("It is a sabbath of rest," Lev. 16:31 says, "and you must deny yourselves"). I stand myself down. I resist that which six days of coming and going, pushing and pulling, dodging and weaving, fighting and defending have bred into me. What I deny myself is all my well trained impulses to get and to spend and to make and to master. This day, I go in a direction I am unaccustomed to, unfamiliar with, that the other six days have made to seem unnatural to me. I do this, this traveling in the opposite direction, maybe for no higher reason at first than that God told me to do it.