I have never really experienced a sabbath. This is not to say that there haven’t been days where I have just relaxed and done nothing, because trust me I was extremely adept at doing that back in the day. Instead, what I really mean, is that I have not spent a day in which I did not have to work and used my time for being at peace, joining others for community, or simply meditating on life and what God might be doing with it. I have not set out a day of relaxation, transformation, and peace… ever. You can come up with your best intellectual and psychological answers: maybe my Western mindset doesn’t allow for me to practice dutifully the spiritual disciplines it takes to enjoy sabbath, maybe I respond better to Max Weber’s “Protestant Ethic” than I do to Thomas Merton’s “No Man is an Island“, maybe I feel guilty now about just relaxing and being in peace. All I know is that at times, I come to the conclusion that I am not at peace, that I am in a constant state of unrest and feel that I standing at the precipice and I conclude two things: One, I cannot face this problem alone. Second, in dastardly fashion, I want to turn and run for fear of consigning myself over to God and other people for them to help me with my uneasiness.
Yet I realize that humans need sabbath. We need a break from the constant cycles of our lives and we need to take time to end those cycles, not permenantly in most cases, but doing so in order that we may regain perspective. I feel as if I have lost perspective, lost sight of the things in life that give joy, that sustain, that really permeate an aroma of goodness in life.I have been increasingly anxious and frustrated by all of this, and in turn I have lashed out on others who had nothing to do with my problems. Last night, as I was playing basketball with my best friends, I had an outburst, a fit of rage on my friend for not calling his own fouls and for elbowing me in the side as I was defending him. I got so angry, composed of both competitive spirit and my aforementioned troubles, I chewed him out and other friends had to come in and play peacemaker. It wasn’t until that happened, my friends intervention, that I realized my depravity in this situation. I am usually the peacemaker amongst my group of friends, I am usually the voice of compassion and peace in this group of hotheads and competitors. Yet here I was, being humbled by them.
I have thought much about sabbath the last couple of days. I think I might just take a day off to listen, relax, meditate, and enjoy God, and at the end of the day, I might have dinner with some friends, to enjoy the peace that community brings as well. I hope that this Lent season can help bring about ways in which you think, pray, and act on God’s call.
Be in peace
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