When I lived on the west coast of Florida, I became friendly with my neighbor Father Johnathan, a retired priest. He loved going out to dinner and telling me stories of when he was an active pastor living in a monastery, and I equally enjoyed listening, he was witty and intelligent. These dinners always came with advice that emanated from his deep faith. I may not have always agreed with his position, but I always took note. It is funny how we remember the individual conversation or words when we need then the most.
One Sunday over dinner we got on the topic of my demanding work schedule and the pressure I put on myself to succeed. He made a good point by asking “have you ever stopped to ask yourself why? You know the Sabbath is a day of rest, and a commandment and its right up there with thou shalt not kill.”
Of course, I know this because I went to Catholic School for 12 years! However, there was a deeper meaning to what he was saying.
That was 15 years ago and writing this post is one of those times I recall his advice.
Today most people live even busier lives with cell phones, tablets, laptops, texts, email, instant messaging, Facetime and blurred boundaries between work and home ─ it is no surprise we feel fried and exhausted.
The solution is not better time management or being a better juggler; I think it is re-learning something we already know ─ take a one day break out of the seven day week. Sitting in traffic, checking in, getting a jump start on tomorrow, searching the internet, managing job, and household has become the new Sabbath tradition.
Father Johnathan was right, the Sabbath serves as a day to recalibrate the soul, brain and body and unwind, be grateful, and a day to spend with loved ones, even if that means just spending the day with yourself, a superb self-care day. In other words ─ take a complete break for 24 hours out of the 168 hour week.
My friend reminded me of the Christian story of Creation God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh to reflect on the week’s accomplishments and be thankful. For practicing Jews and Christians, the Sabbath is the holiest day of the year even though it happens 52 times a year.
What if everyone in the world adopted the notion there is nothing else to do on the Sabbath except relax, celebrate, and love?
There probably would be more converts, and we would live on a more peaceful planet.