Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Seven Weeks of Vacation

It seems like this summer there has been a lot of discussion among my blogger friends about how to really step back from the rat-race and enjoy family, friends, neighbors, good books- in other words, find some space at the margins of life to breathe and think.

I loved this quote from Ray Ortlund:

"If we did set apart as holy one day each week, we would add to every year, for the rest of our lives, over seven weeks of vacation. And not for goofing off, but for worship, for fellowship, for mercy, for an afternoon nap, for reading a theological book, for thinking about God and taking stock of our lives, for lingering around the dinner table and sharing good jokes and tender words and personal prayers.
I know the objections to the Sabbath. But I am answering this question: How can I live with quietness of heart in the madness of this world? If anyone has a more biblical (and more immediately usable and beneficial) place to begin answering that question, I’m open. But raising hermeneutical objections to the Sabbath principle doesn’t give me quietness of heart."


Donna said...

I love the "sabbath." I discovered it as a student at Wheaton and have enjoyed it in some form or other ever since. But... anyone who thinks someone can take a nice afternoon nap definitely does not have a 3 1/2 year old boy!

JAM said...

I really like this idea. Lately, we've been trying not to shop nearly as much, so without intending to, we've been observing a Sabbath more on Sundays. Church in the morning, then either gardening or reading (although probably plenty of laundry and cleaning thrown in too) in the afternoon. It gets hard with school starting since there will definitely need to be homework done, although I do like the idea of keeping Sunday clear for family time, even if some of us are doing homework while others are reading! We have different levels of participation in church stuff in our family, but it is nice to have a day where we are mostly together.

Lady Sterling said...

This is so interesting because I often chastise myself for that Sunday afternoon nap that I so desperately need after 6 days running around like a crazy lunatic with 4 kids. And while I fall asleep to that blessed nap, I am thinking of all of the tasks that need to be done before Monday. Then I remind myself that the Sabbath is for rest which can be a nice nap. If I am fortunate, I will also find a little one snuggled up next me which warms my heart and strengthens my bond and love for them. Further, I am charged up after my nap to spend good time with my kids either going on walks, playing outside, or just good reading and cuddle time where I am not falling asleep reading. So I shan't chastise myself for "resting". :-)

Another interesting observation from the blog entry you quoted, is the idea that the 7th day was built in and was a time of refreshment. This is true in nature but we disregard it. The soil should rest the 7th year which is why farmers rotated their crops or had empty fields. The 7th year the field would rest and be more fertile and rich the next year. I find that quite interesting. But in our big farming at least in the US I don't think that is heeded as much. Instead we work and work and deplete the soil of all nutrients failing to let the soil "rest".

ruchi aka arduous said...

There was an interesting discussion about this on Sharon Astyk's website. Sharon favors a return to the blue laws which I find rather problematic as I believe in a firm separation of church and state, but on an individual level, I think a day of rest is a great idea. I really should strictly enforce a technology free day once a week! I think it would make a big difference to have a day devoted to friends, family, meditation, and reading books but not for internet or TV.

Joyce said...

Donna-LOL! I remember praying that my kids would all take their naps at the same time so I could take one, and it NEVER happened. Not only that, my husband liked that day for watching football-through his eyelids, I might add. No fair! But that little period of our lives did pass, too quickly.

jam, we try not to shop on Sunday, too. Just that one thing, planning the weekend so we aren't running around, can make such a difference, even if you do through a load of laundry in. At least you're all home, and able to talk and hang out together.

K-I did know one farmer who practiced the 7th year fallow field rule, but he didn't do all his fields the same year, like they did in the Bible. In talking about it, he commented that he realized how much faith those people had, to trust that they would have enough surplus to get them through a whole year without crops. Isn't that an amazing thought?

Ruchi, thanks for the link! That's a pretty interesting discussion. I personally don't think we would have to mandate anything. If each family would simply decide to commit to one real family and rest day they would benefit. Sunday is so obvious for Christian, and Saturday for Jewish families. We just need to go back to the old way of operating. We've let ourselves get sucked into the "world's" way of doing things.

Rose said...

Joyce, I never thought of how this added up to 7 weeks in a year! Growing up, Sundays always meant church and maybe visiting with family in the afternoon. And nap time! When I was teaching and my children were all still at home, Sundays became a very stressful day with laundry, school work, and maybe some necessary shopping.
Remember when all the stores were closed on Sundays??

Joyce said...

Rose, I sure do remember when it was all closed on Sunday! It's funny, I was just talking to my daughter recenty, about how there wasn't anything open after about 1am, and now we have all these all night stores and restaurants! I think that in itself has changed things. We all just need to go home and sleep in our little beds, instead of buying groceries at 11pm, or sitting in Steak'n'Shake at 2am. Oh, yeah, now I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, don't I?