Sabbath: Part One

This season's Bloom Book Club choice is Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in our Busy Lives, by Wayne Muller.

I started reading it last night. I was nervous because the print was small and I've had a bad history of giving up on books when they are a hard read. But I didn't put it down easily! And I read more today! It's deep, it's thought-provoking. The author discusses things from a Christian world view, but isn't afraid to include how Jews, Buddhists, and other religions incorporate Sabbath rest in their lives as well. Very un-biased.

I've been taking notes as I read. I want to remember the high points. So -- if you don't mind -- I'll post my thoughts and favorite quotes here. Just call me CliffNotes. Maybe KyleNotes. Hey, that kinda has a ring to it.

So. Do you sometimes feel so busy that your brain is just a mushed up mess? Your decisions are far from well-thought-out and wise? I found myself just the other day {and probably most days} just looking around the house for something to busy myself with. "Oh, there's a toy to pick up" "Oh, I could dust the piano" I have a desire to accomplish, to succeed. But hear this:

"Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something -- anything -- is better than doing nothing. Because of our desire to succeed, to meet these ever-growing expectations, we do not rest. Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that would show us where to go, we bypass the nourishment that would give us succor. We miss the quiet that would give us wisdom."

Yes. We all dream about rest. And don't believe we'll ever be able to work hard enough to deserve it.

You deserve rest. Your family deserves a rested mother. Your decisions will be that much better; your solutions longer lasting.

"Without the essential nutrients of rest, wisdom, and delight embedded in the problem-solving process itself, the solution we patch together is likely to be an obstacle to genuine relief. Born of desperation, it often contains enough fundamental inaccuracy to guarantee an equally perplexing problem will emerge as soon as it is put into place. In the soil of the quick fix is the seed of the new problem, because our quiet wisdom is unavailable."

Isn't it wonderful? Have you thought about it like this before?

It's easy to take a good thing, apply about 89 rules to it -- and make it into something pretty miserable. The Sabbath was made for man!! It renews us. It reminds us of what is good. It connects us with those who matter most. It clears our vision. When we say no to other uses of our time, a bounty of time exists for things that matter most.

"Sabbath can yield a long list of DON'Ts....."but beyond the legalism is an idea that by saying no to making some things happen, deep permission arises for other things to happen. When we cease our daily labor, other things -- love, friendship, prayer, touch, singing, rest -- can be born in the space created by our rest. Walking with a friend, reciting a prayer, caring for children, sharing bread and wine with neighbors -- those are intimate graces that need precious time and attention."

We are told to REMEMBER the Sabbath. Don't forget it! You will lose such a great blessing.

"If you work all week and forget to rest, you will become brittle and hard, and lose precious nourishment and joy. Forgetting the Sabbath is like forgetting to unwrap the most beautiful gift under the tree."

Merry Christmas, every day of your life!

"Sabbath time assumes that if we step back and rest, we will see the wholeness in it all. We will naturally apprehend the good in how things are, taste the underlying strength, beauty, and wisdom that lives even in the difficult days, take delight in the gift and blessing of being alive."

"This is the only commandment that begins with the word 'remember,' as if it refers to something we already know, but have forgotten. It is good. It is whole. It is beautiful. In our hurry and worry and acquiring and working, we forget. Rest, take delight in the goodness of creation and remember how good it is."

I have experienced this feeling of all-is-good-with-the-world. In times of quiet meditation, getting close to nature, thus closer to God. It is a centering feeling. He is in control. He created it and it is good.

Thank you for the opportunity to have Sabbath moments, Sabbath days, Sabbath lives.