Every so often you hear something described in such a way that it makes you sit up and take notice. It happened when my friend Brian said, “People say that Americans are afraid of leisure. Of taking time off from work. But it must go deeper than that. Otherwise why would God, speaking through Moses, have felt all humans needed to be ordered to take a day off?”
Sure enough, for those who follow the Judeo-Christian path, there it is: one of the Ten Commandments: “For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. Keep it holy.” In Genesis, even God took the seventh day off to rest from his work. (Gen 2:2)
For 3 weeks, I observed myself to see how well I keep this Commandment. Am I willing to let one day in my crowded week be a day to be lie fallow? To step away from my constant connections to social media and the internet? To set aside my “Things to Do” list?
What I saw is this: though I took time for church, I was a busy bee after that. Running errands. Catching up on housework. And connecting on line, of course.
Yet Holy Leisure, by giving me a break from my primary work, offers an opportunity to become a more Whole human being. It’s a time in which my soul can steep itself in being, not doing.
One of my biggest challenges has been giving up my compulsion to go on line. Instead, I’m trying to feel “okay” about turning off my computer for a day. (Is that your gasp I hear?) To feel okay about taking a Sunday nap. Or putting my feet up and reading a book. Or, if I exercise, to do it out of doors where I can experience God’s beautiful natural world.
I’d love to hear from others who have decided to “Keep holy the Sabbath.” And especially from anyone who might be joining me in shutting down their computers for a day!