I actually wrote this post on Monday (hence the reference to September 3rd), but my Galaxy wouldn't transfer the pictures I had taken for the post, so I am stealing a picture from Matt, instead.
Today is both the third of September and the beginning of my third month of...hmmmm....what is it I am doing, exactly?
I am pursuing spiritual disciplines.
I am poking around in my soul.
I am acquainting myself with the art of stopping, of breathing, of praying, of being.
It's a tall order.
This month I have decided to flounder around in the idea of keeping a Sabbath day. I say "flounder around in" because, as I discovered yesterday, I'm going to be doing a lot of floundering. I am not at all adept at the heart of Sabbath-keeping--rest. I have this evil stepmother of sorts who sits on my shoulder, smiles wickedly at me, and assures me in her coldly alluring voice that of course I can sit and rest and keep the Sabbath, dearie, just as soon as you
put away that laundry
sweep those floors
feed your family
clean up the kitchen
tidy up that clutter
and on it goes.
The evil stepmother doesn't like me to blame her, so I blame others. Matt, for example, spent a really long time just doing his own thing yesterday morning, and helped me out not one iota (that my slightly clouded brain remembers anyway). I spent the morning before church putting away laundry and straightening and cleaning and feeling a teeny, tiny bit resentful.
I went to church and my soul untangled for a bit. During the music, anyway. I loved holding Matt's hand and singing with him from our church pew. We sang and harmonized and I forgot I was mad at him, and as my spirit lifted in song I also forgot about the evil stepmother sitting on my shoulder, who had fallen asleep, I think, because she gets bored in church.
Then Eric preached a sermon about the "party parable" in Luke 14. And I thought that it would be nice to hear a sermon about a party parable, only I didn't remember exactly what this particular "party parable" was about, and I spent the sermon squirming a bit, and, when things got a little too uncomfortable, meticulously mapping out my schedule for the week. Normally in such a desperate circumstance I would write out my to-do list, but I wasn't supposed to have a to-do list yesterday, since it was my Sabbath and all.
Yesterday afternoon, then, Matt had the audacity to take a nap. I spent his nap-time sitting on the loveseat with Jack, answering his 5-year-old brain-inspired questions while simultaneously trying to soak in the lyrical prose of Ann Patchett's novel Bel Canto. I tried. I did. I failed.
Then, yesterday evening we went to my grandparents' to celebrate my grandpa's 81st birthday. I ate pizza and cake and gifted my grandpa with a tub of caramel, cinnamon, and cheese popcorn from Velvet Creme Popcorn. The Sabbath part of that visit, aside from melting into family love, was first singing, a capella, "As I Went Down to the River to Pray" with my Amélie, and then gathering around the piano and singing beautiful, soul-nourishing hymns. My mom, Matt, Amélie, and I circled around the piano and harmonized our way through "Abide with Me," "Blessed Assurance," "Day by Day" (which is, incidentally, both my grandpa's favorite song and the lullaby I sang to Jack), and "Victory in Jesus." It was lovely. It was Sabbath.
So, yesterday I managed to knit together a Sabbath of sorts, but I had to pull at least as many stitches as I linked together. I think that I need some help. Perhaps an intervention is in order. (I mean, if any of you want to kidnap me and take me away to a remote little cabin in the woods somewhere and force Sabbath upon me, far be it from me to stop you). Because I doubt that the intervention will take place, I will plead for second-best--books. Any book on the Sabbath that you might recommend?