How I spent my first "Day of Rest"
9:28 AMMy "Day of Rest" began 2 hours and 43 minutes ago. There is still time to make it to a church service somewhere... in about 92 minutes I will be in the clear, out of the "hour of power," or whatever, where the possibility - however slim- remains that I might at any moment throw on appropriate clothes and shoes and dash away to some worship service to ease the itchy combo of Christian guilt, vocational habit and genuine longing.
When I woke up, my 4 year old bouncing on me, I had the familiar searching feeling with adrenaline rush, What day is it? What do we have to do today? I was all ready to pull myself out of bed and launch into whatever demands the day would hold. And then it flooded over me like sweet warm chocolate sauce - Today we had...nothing. On purpose. For the whole day. The church where I am minister held our first bi-monthly Saturday evening worship service, intentionally creating this hole, this open space, for "sabbath rest."
Waking up this Sunday morning meant nothing, nothing to do, nowhere to go, no demands, no expectations. What I am SUPPOSED to do today, is just be. I scooted back under the covers taking my wiggly son with me and we waited for the two year old to realize it was morning - (she just moved to a toddler bed two days ago, and she can get now climb in and out of bed by herself, but it is a new discovery every morning, and it gives us great delight and anticipation for the moment after she awakens when she figures it out and comes to join us all on her own) - so we huddled in the covers and waited for little sister to come padding in with her bear to join dogs, daddy, brother and mama in bed.
Breakfast was oatmeal, because we had time for it. We gradually migrated from pajamas to clothes, as each person felt so inclined - a dramatic difference from every other day in our lives, where clothes are the prerequisite to every other thing but cereal.
After a while I got in the shower - a very utilitarian routine, but half-way through it I realized that what I really wanted was a bath, so I filled the tub and sank down in the warm water and closed my eyes. Several peaceful minutes later the door banged open and a tiny voice said, "Mama! Where are you?" Small hands pushed back the curtain and a giggly girl peaked her head over the tub and exclaimed, "Oh! You're taking a BATH?!" And I realized that in her conscious memory she's never actually witnessed this. Everybody knows baths are for kids and dogs. She found it hysterical. When her giggling stopped I asked her if she'd like to join me. Two minutes later, kid jammies lay in a heap on the floor next to grown up jammies, and my relaxing bath had turned into a "deep swimming pool" filled with rubber froggies and sponge cows, and the ladies of the Root house splashed, soaked and gabbed until our fingers were pruny and the water turned cool.
We took a family walk - just left the house and started walking with no real destination.
We passed a church building with the cars parked outside and the worshipers all closed up inside.
Now everyone is laying around all tired and contented with a post sunshine & exercise buzz, still smelling like fresh air.
An impromptu playdate has occurred, and there are two boys playing air-hockey in the family room and a little girl napping upstairs. That's where I just was, too. Napping. Yup. Just got up, in fact. For lunch I fed the (then) royal kings and tiny queen organic mac & cheese (again, because we had time to wait for water to boil), hot dogs and blueberries, and was told "This is the best lunch EVER!" because it wasn't PB&J again. Now I am about to bake something. Because I can't really help it, and there is a potluck in a few hours so I have an excuse.
I keep checking the mail and then remembering it's Sunday.
This isn't really a whole day, since we're gathering at 4PM at church to talk about how this weekend went, but I feel like I have had a good day of rest. The Jews are onto something here. It has been harder than I thought just taking a breath, taking it slow, being intentional about what I do and why, instead of running on the fuel of obligation, pressure and external demands. I can see where it would be easy to create extra pressure to "rest" right, to pack the day with things that I don't get to do other days and wish I did - journaling (kind of cheated with this blog), going through photos, cleaning out cupboards (not really sabbathy, but it was an urge I had to suppress), praying some certain way, taking up some new skill/habit like knitting. But all in all, the hard "work" I have done has been to exist in the here and now. To live fully in the present, in each moment. And I have been keenly aware of my own gratitude throughout the day. It's the only today I will ever have. And even though it was not a "productive" day, it felt very faithful. I felt like I lived in my day completely.
I would like to live every day a little more present in the present.
Not to get all preachy and ministerish about it, but it is, after all, the one place where Christ can actually meet us - not the past, not the future, but right in the here and now.