Saturday, July 10, 2010

What was it like, for you?

So it's Saturday morning. I'm finishing up my little pot of coffee I made earlier, enjoying the quietness of the morning. Summer has flown by, don't you think? I realized just the other day that summer is already half way over, and the way that realization dawned upon me it was as if I had been spinning my wheels inside a windowless room, unaware of time.

The pace of life during school this past semester was always hard to describe. It would be slow and steady some weeks, while others were just horrendously jam-packed. One week I'd be able to enjoy and think about the stuff I was assigned to read and write about, while the next I was trying my hardest to cram it all in and crank a decent paper out. This summer though, has been different. Very steady pace, with limited variation. And you know what? I'm finding that I like both.

But one of the constants among the two different paces of life has been weekend retreat. A few years ago I went on a spiritual formation retreat where the speaker talked about Sabbath and how we as busy college kids could learn a lot from the habits of ancient Christians who practiced rest, solitude, and reflection. At the time it was a revolutionary concept to me. It sort of took me by storm. At first I had to be really make an effort to make time during the weekend for sabbath rest. Then, slowly, it sort of sunk into me and became something I looked forward to, anticipating throughout the week.

Everybody has a different idea of what Sabbath is, and I think that's one of the great things about it. Some people really get into the solitude thing, while others just enjoy feeling free from work. I've found that I just really like the openness of the time. What I mean is that I like having (even if it's brief) unscheduled time, time where I can sit and hang out with friends if that's what's going on, or time to read a good book, or any number of things that brings rest and relaxation.

If i don't watch it, it becomes difficult for me to unplug. I know most people have an easy time just hanging out and doing fun stuff, but for some reason I find it sort of difficult after a heavy week in the books to disengage. That's where the unscheduled time comes in. I found that most of the time I needed a bit of time to fully unwind, and that's where the old habit of sabbath came back to help me.

I was thinking about all this as I was sitting down with my coffee this morning. The quiet all around me, unscheduled time before me. It's good to work hard, to be stretched, to do something hard. Because that's when the rest really becomes valuable. It's when you're able to appreciate the people and blessings in your life that they start to mean more, and sometimes it takes a little unscheduled time in order to count those blessings.

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