I practice a grab-and-go sabbath. I know: I’m doing it wrong. I need to read Dana’s book.
My trouble is finding a rhythm. I tend towards disorder and chaos more than calendared routine. Time seems to be an elusive creature, refusing my attempts at domestication. I regularly lack the capacity, imagination and, let’s face it, the discipline to step beyond the immediate demands of every day to find the sacred dimension that is sabbath.
At a certain point, I gave myself permission to let the seventh day stretch wait, and to embrace instead the pre-creation chaos that seems to call me back, time and again. For now, it is a seasonal sabbath practice: I forget what winter was like, which means I get to discover and recreate its own rituals all over again when it returns.
For the summer, my brief and occasional, snatched sabbath moment looks like the day before creation had begun, when the Spirit of God brooded over the primordial deep. Before the day gets underway, I slip down to the lake and into its murky waters. The lake is cool, sometimes calm, sometimes chaotic. Like me, it does not recognize a regular state of being.
I swim towards the rising sun, often with my eyes closed against its reflected glory. My body rests, sensation spiraling down to a singularity, the water passing by, until I can barely feel it at all. My spirit is allowed to brood.
By the time I heave myself out of the lake I have become a new creation. My legs shake like a new-born fawn, but my shoulders, too, have shed some of the lead worries they carried in.
“Ok,” I tell myself and God. “Let’s begin at the beginning.”
The Reverend Rosalind C. Hughes is an Episcopal priest living on the shores of Lake Erie, near Cleveland, Ohio. When the lake is too stormy for swimming, she may be found curled up under one of her three cats, practicing for a proper sabbath.
In A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles,” Marianne Williamson writes that “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” I asked prominent authors, theologians, bloggers, and ministers to “let their own light shine,” by writing on the joys and challenges of sabbath practices. During this summer guest blog series, these writers will help us learn from one another, and, in turn, give us permission to explore our own sabbath journeys.
I want to hear from you, too!
Take a photo of yourself—or a selfie—while engaging in a sabbath practice (rest, worship, or a community gathering). Share the photo on social media and include #ForSabbathsSake in your post. Give yourself and others permission to enjoy the gift of sabbath.