Sabbath In The Suburbs: March (chapter 8)

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Sorry for the delay–life got away from me over here!

I hope you found some time last week to enjoy some Sabbath–even if it was “just” because you didn’t have the tools you needed to accomplish a task, so you had to let it be instead. It’s quite a realization, that even after practicing rest, we still find ourselves almost mindlessly doing. It speaks to how deeply ingrained efficiency and productivity are in our lives and culture. That and the crazy guilt we feel about just letting something be.

One of the stories of this chapter that most caught my attention was of making the time walking out of the zoo with Margaret into a Sabbath experience. Sure, it could have been irritating or excruciating, but instead it turned into Sabbath in a way that staying with the group may not have been. Have you ever had this kind of experience? Or is there perhaps a way you might be able to make space for (or even create) this kind of Sabbath Opportunity in your own life (kids or no kids!)?

The other thing that made me think in this chapter is the idea of “cheating”–of doing just one non-Sabbath-thing in the middle of the Sabbath (in the case of this family, it was selling Girl Scout cookies). It can be easier to cheat than to reschedule, but it can also be Very Easy to let cheating extend until it eats up the whole Sabbath time. How do you handle cheating?

And then of course there’s the “yes-and”…as in improv. So much of our lives is “no” and “don’t”–even those of us who have trouble saying no to big commitments probably hear ourselves utter the word more often than we would like to admit. And while “no” is important–it helps to set boundaries and clarify expectations–it can also overwhelm with its negative influence in ways we never meant the word to mean. So what happens if we say “yes-and”? One of the rules of improv is that you can’t say no in the midst of the sketch–you work with the idea the other person has presented and turn it into your part in the scene. What are some ways we might say “yes” during Sabbath, with the appropriate “and” tacked on? Not “Yes” to more commitments or to work or to new ways of imposing our vision on the world, but “yes” to creativity, to desire, to fun or rest or hope. Ideas?

At the end of the chapter, MaryAnn mentions the famous 1 Corinthians 13 passage (“love is patient, love is kind…”) and adds her own twist: “Love is repetitive; love is inefficient. Love is not a ‘productive’ use of time. It does not produce many lasting artifacts. The work of love never ends.” (p.99)

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? Love–the thing to which we are called most of all–is remarkably inefficient, and does not produce any tangible stuff. And yet…

How does that help, or not help, your understanding and practice of Sabbath?

What caught your attention in this chapter?

How are you doing at carving out some time where you can let go of control and stop trying to change things?

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