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?
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.