My days consist of constant work
in order to make a living that pays for my home, healthcare and basic living provisions. I don’t go on extravagant vacations, I don’t really care about material possessions except maybe a great maxi dress or a sale rack pair of shoes.
I am being shaped by God to live simply. Even in this lifestyle that God has chosen for me, that I gladly accept, I still work in information fields from the time I wake up until I go to sleep. I work as a credit analyst, minister, pastoral counselor, wife, mother, teacher, preacher, civic organizer, and artist. When I find myself writing this laundry list of things “I do” I sort of struggle against the weight of it all and I wonder, what are you thinking?
Our society is structured in such a way that we must work to survive; rest is for the weak, busyness is a status symbol, and most importantly remember: an idle mind is The Devil’s workshop.
Seriously? I feel like I have been bamboozled.
When I think of precious Jesus on his journey of good news: frustrated, tired, hungry, hopeful, and even unsure, I imagine him going behind a large rock on a mountain vista and letting two or three tears loose while he prays. Maybe after 10 minutes or so, a disciple, let’s say Peter, comes to find him and he stands up in a sort of suck-it-up awkwardness before he takes a deep breath, tucks down his chin while pointing the way forward to Peter. Peter gives him the side eye like, you cryin’ man?
Being human is hard.
But what I love about the Sabbath as an art form juxtaposed against the demands and commentary of our modern society, is that, like all art, it is provocative. It is an act of defiance. Sabbath is rebellion.
I don’t know about you, but I looooove a little rebellion in my world. What better way to perform an act of rebellion at this time in the life of the world to have this kind of conversation? See below:
Your Friend: “Hey did you see Donald Trump’s latest tweet?”
You: “No I was observing the Sabbath, so I turned my electronics off.”
Your Cronie: “Hey I haven’t seen you on Facebook lately, is everything okay?”
You: “Everything is fine, I have been observing the Sabbath and taking in God’s creation via nature walks.”
YES!!! Can you even believe it?!
We must disrupt the signal that is pulling everyone’s heads down to consume more and more and more info by putting our heads down to pray and rest and nap.
While I was at the Sister’s of Mercy Convent, I was instructed to take a nap.
Why do we sleep?
Aside from the physiological reasons, I think sleep is a sacred time in which God does the most important work on us. Like, if we were going in for major surgery, we wouldn’t want to multi-task while under the knife. All the more if God is shifting our consciousness, changing our hearts, opening our bundle of blessings, curing a spiritual pathogen.
So this past week, I have taken a field trip to my call to quietness, inward reflection, and cleansing of the inside of my cup. I have been fasting as much as possible from the use of electronics and have observed a sacred silent Sabbath. It is the most disruptive, joyous time.
I recently read in an article that we take micro-naps while awake and we don’t even realize it. Micro-naps are the moments where you are fully awake and yet your eyes glaze over or you drift away for a few seconds and then come back to that friend telling you all about how her dog likes to steal covers from her other dog.
In society, we have often thought of this as rudeness in the form of feigning interest or not paying attention. But now, studies show that we need it. Is this rest? (If it is, PLEASE don’t let my teenage son know.)
Then there is this British saying: “A change is as good as a rest,” that I say from time to time when I am confronted with a form of convergence that frightens me. Is convergence rest? is change really rest?
When my mom died of cancer, my grandmother and I were at the funeral home. We decided on an open casket funeral. When I saw her lying in her casket, Mom had this sort of pained smile on her face that I will never forget. I wanted to look at her face and remember her forever so I stared and I stared and I stared at her face.
When it was time to close the casket, they turned this…crank…that lowered her body so that they could close the lid. I freaked out. I knew when they closed that lid, I would never see her face again. My dad saw my panic and said “shh don’t worry sweetie, she is only sleeping.”
I felt my first taste of rage toward my father that day.
His patronizing me in that moment by saying what he said made me wish he was dead. Is my mothers death rest? Is her death image rest for my mind or my soul? Is the change I felt toward my father in that moment rest? Is the lack of relationship I have with my father today rest?
In Buddhism there is a concept that states: Everything is an object of refuge.
Everything is refuge? Refuge meaning rest? Refuge meaning safety and sanctuary? You mean that I can have heaven here with me now before I die?
Jesus says so:
You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” Luke 17:21.
When I think about rest, I think of my pink onesie with pancakes and syrup designs on it, my quilt, my husband’s broad chest, his heartbeat resounding in my being…
When I think about rest, I think of my precious dogs and how they like to steal covers from each other. They live a much more luxurious life than we do: TechRat and Snips have 5 beds: the couch, Eric’s and my bed, Cosmo’s bed, and their own beds.
When I think about rest, I imagine my mom with both of her legs restored, walking hand in hand with Christ in a place I will never find.
When I think about rest, I think of my son’s eyes and the relief that I know he is safe and healthy.
When I think about rest, I think of pursuing my spiritual call after a long day of solving problems in the world of commerce and accounting.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Rest is now.
I have been thinking about how, in this moment, right now, we have an opportunity to rest in whatever situation we are in. This means that there are opportunities that are given to us to accept the things we cannot change, and just be.
Rest is Rebellion.
Take back what is yours. Ask for serenity:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.