This morning we went with my sister Mess Cat, her husband Leroy, and their little guy Shaker for an early celebration at the pool where they swim. It was wonderful. Not another soul there, beautiful weather, clear water, children laughing, folks visiting.
Then Leroy decided to shake things up. He thought Mess Cat was a little too comfortable, so he jumped in right behind her when her back was turned–SPLASH! In her good-natured way, she shrugged it off, laughing. Everyone wanted in on the fun. The littles came up wanting to be played with. Leroy obliged them by doing that for a few minutes.
“More, more!” they called after him. “Uncle Leroy!” “Daddy!”
“No. No. From now on, I’m not Daddy or Uncle Leroy. I’m just some guy at the pool.”
We all laughed.
“Besides,” he continued. “Today’s Sunday. It’s my Sabbath. No more working for me.”
Except for Cooter, my seven-year old.
“Yeah, back in the olden days, you couldn’t work at all on the Sabbath. If you did, you could get arrested.”
Leroy nodded. “Is that right?”
Actually it is. I am so pleased with my little guy. He was paying attention when we studied the Revolutionary War this past year. At one point, we watched the movie “Johnny Tremain,” an old one done by Disney. There was a scene where the silversmith and Johnny were working on the Sabbath, trying to make ends meet. The constable (I think it was) was coming, so they quickly tried to hide everything. In the rush, hot silver was poured on Johnny’s hand. An important part of the storyline. I remember us having a conversation about that at the time. Isn’t it funny what sticks in their little minds?
So it was an interesting coincidence that we talked about the Sabbath tonight at Evening Prayer. The literal Sabbath, as in a time to rest.
A couple of years ago, I read the book “Mudhouse Sabbath” by Lauren F. Winner. She described their Friday preparations for the Jewish Sabbath the following day. She and her husband hurried home from work, prepared meals, ironed clothes, took showers, and did everything else that needed doing for the next day. When the sun went down, they were done. Or had to be. It wasn’t that they just dropped everything either. They had worked ahead so they wouldn’t have to. The Sabbath began and no work was allowed.
May I tell you how much I love that?
So many present tonight seemed to feel the same way–that we would love to honor the Sabbath, to take time to rest, for meditation and to have a time to just “be” instead of “do.” We would love to, but we don’t give ourselves permission to take that time.
For some reason I don’t need to hear it’s okay–I need to hear it’s required. As in if I don’t take a day to rest, to rejuvenate, to “be,” then the constable is coming after me.
Isn’t it sad when we can’t do this for ourselves?
It would be easy to blame the companies that choose to be open on Sunday. It’s all their fault. If they weren’t open, I wouldn’t need to go. I’d have to make do.
Or on our busy lives. We have so much going on each day, and there’s business to handle, to take care of. It’s more than we can do in six days. There are dishes and laundry and a house to clean. We’re at work five days and Saturdays we’re at the ball field or the pool or traveling to see friends. Sunday’s the only day to get these things done.
Okay. Or not.
The truth is, it’s a lifestyle. It’s what we’ve chosen. We’ve chosen to fill our days and sometimes nights too with activities and meetings and programs. We’ve made the choice to have all these things that have to be taken care of. We are the ones who won’t draw the line and reserve an hour, an afternoon, a day each week to sit and be.
It doesn’t even have to be on Sunday in my book. When we were going to the Sunday suppers each week, and our Sundays were busy with preparations, I guarded my Mondays carefully. When that ended, I guess I lost my rhythm, and that time fell to the wayside.
I think it’s time I start carving out some “be” time again. Not “me” but “be.” Time to be with my family, unencumbered by outside distractions. Time to sit and think and rest. Uninterrupted by distractions.
So, in a nutshell, it’s not the distractions that will change. It’s my attitude. My setting boundaries. Making different choices. My making time for rest. Making it a priority and working ahead so it can happen. My soul is crying out for it, I can tell you that.
And if the world starts calling out with distractions, I’ll just be some guy at the pool.
Wishing you time to unplug this week. Love to all.