The 20 Minute Sabbath
21 Oct, 2012
Recently I launched a new initiative to “Honor the Sabbath.” It’s a commandment after all, one of the big ten, so I figured it must be pretty important. Plus it sounded really good in theory; honoring the Sabbath sounded relaxing. Peaceful. Quiet.
The trouble is, I have children. Two young boys.
Boys who require prepared meals, clean dishes, folded tee shirts, lettuce chopped for the pet lizard and scattered beta fish food vacuumed from the bedroom floor. Boys who need help with long division and book reports, kitchen cabinets stocked with snacks and peanut butter and raspberry jelly sandwiches sealed into plastic baggies for school tomorrow.
Boys who are decidedly unquiet.
On the Monday following my first failed Sabbath, I formulated a new strategy. I would plan ahead. I would get all my chores done during the week – the vacuuming, laundry, dusting, grocery shopping and organizing – so that on Sunday I could rest. On Sunday I would honor God by enjoying my family, nature and peace and quiet.
The trouble with Plan B was that by the time Sunday rolled around, I was so crabby from my week of frenzied lunacy that I was too tired to honor the Sabbath. I dragged myself to church and then spent the rest of the day yawning and bemoaning my exhaustion.
Finally I concluded that honoring the Sabbath might be best embraced in small increments rather than in a single 15-hour chunk. It might look a bit different, too – less quiet, less monastic – from what I originally anticipated.So for now, at this time in my life, the Sabbath is a slow bike ride with my oldest son on a crisp autumn afternoon.
The Sabbath is snuggled into the couch reading a Percy Jackson novel aloud to my youngest boy.The Sabbath is snapping photos in my backyard of scarlet maple leaves and sumac draped like prayer flags.
The Sabbath is snatching 20 minutes on the sun-warmed front step with the Bible open on my lap.
Monastic quiet and a chore-free Sunday aren’t realistic for me right now. But 15 minutes of Sabbath scattered here and there like gems throughout the course of a day? Now that I can do.
Do you practice keeping the Sabbath? And if yes, what does that look like? Is it a whole day or more piecemeal like mine?