When I started blogging in earnest, just over two years ago, I was talking about time:
What counts as Sabbath rest? For a pastor, it isn’t whatever it is thathappens on Sunday, since, while energizing, that certainly isn’t resting. But is in just “not going to the office”?
If I get a call from the office, does that mean that the whole day doesn’t count or only a part of it?
If I work on the insulation in the crawlspace which hasn’t been done for 3 years, does that violate sabbath or is that actually bringing a sense of rest to the “to do” list?
What about writing a blog entry, does that count or is that working as well?
If I try to pray and I fall asleep, is that a problem?
Obviously, the sabbath is about giving God time…and the silence people that I read would say that sleeping is okay, and time with family is okay. But what about the office call…when it helps get someone money for a funeral trip…but which could have been planned for…but which only took a few minutes on the phone…
And what about the writing?
I finally got the crawlspace insulation done, a couple months ago (which means it took me five years), but I’m still struggling with rest and work cycles, with keeping peace, with balancing listening and speaking.
Tonight has illustrated the challenge well for me. I had the opportunity to be quiet, after the meetings, after the conversations, after the emails. It’s the night before a potentially busy week, with plans for Saturday in flux. It’s been a weekend with two times of teaching (with the accompanying preparation). Tomorrow night I’ll be here for another meeting which, while wonderful (really), is still time. And so tonight, this quiet evening, should have been a perfect time for grabbing a book, grabbing a Bible, grabbing a cup of tea, and sitting and reading and listening.
Instead, it has been hard to take the time. I have in me, apparently, a drivenness. It is difficult to stop and listen, to be at peace.
Ironically, it is easier to confess to you my inability to stop than it is to just stop.
Is is possible that there is in the confession a desire to receive compassion, empathy, understanding…from you? I mean, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You are, as I am, a part of a culture which, whether inside or outside church, finds stopping difficult. We feel as though we must be productive in our work, in our rest, in our play, in our wasting of time. If we can’t do something, we must at least create the facade of busyness.
And it is true, as I said, inside the church and outside the church.
No wonder those inside the church wish that we were outside, where we didn’t have all these church activities and obligations for niceness and limits. No wonder those outside the church wish, at times, they were inside, believing in something that matters, no matter how delusional.
What if, however, God were to say, come here, weary friends, and I will give you rest? I mean, if God really were the creator of everything and if that God, who had the capacity to squish us like a bug (or zap us with lightening), actually said, just rest, wouldn’t that be reason to rest?
And if we could and did, wouldn’t that be, well, time well spent?
Two years of this and I’m still trying to understand.