Keeping the Sabbath

Keeping the Sabbath

Everybody I know is tired. You are tired. I am tired. Your work wears on you. Your expenditure of energy in people, places, and things drains you. Your spirit is fatigued.

You shoulder major responsibility. You make life-altering decisions. You hire and fire. You give counsel. You care for an elderly person. You keep an eye on a feeble neighbor. You bake a casserole for the funeral of a friend.

You listen to complaining people. You hammer nails. You chase a toddler all day long and then wake up three times a night to coax him back to sleep.

In addition to the work, you battle the monotony of doing the same things repeatedly. Laundry breeds in the closet. School homework is eternal.

Customers keep showing up. Things break and require fixing, again. Grass grows. Snow has to be shoveled. Reports are due by the end of the week.

Little ones hit the floor, feet and mouths running. Paperwork stacks up. Planes line up on the runway. Your inbox, mailbox, and voicemail are full. Bills stack up. Groceries disappear. Gas tanks plummet toward empty.

We’ve done these things all our lives, every week, most days. And we grow tired of the rat race.

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The Practice of Saying No

The Practice of Saying No

Today’s post is the latest in my ongoing series, “What I’m Reading Right Now,” in which I highlight the articles, books, blogs, etc. that I find to be interesting reads. Click below to read the previous posts:


Every Lent I try to read one short book—the same one. It’s kinda like the movie Groundhog Day for me, reading the same book over and over and over every year. The book is by one of my favorite authors, Barbara Brown Taylor. It is really short, maybe 30 pages. The title is The Practice of Saying No. And I really need practice doing that because university presidents tend to fancy themselves as “can do” people who say yes to more than humans ought to.

Her book talks about God’s rest, Sabbath, letting fields lie fallow, and not making servants work. It deals with the old Blue Laws (which I’d love to resurrect) and personal habits. It makes me want to sit on a porch and accomplish nothing except appreciation for the breath going in and out of me. It slows the pace, calms the chase, and ends the race of our acquiring.

I’ve purchased the eBook so I can get to it anywhere I have a cell phone handy. What I’m most hopeful of?

Getting the book off the page, beyond the cell phone, and into my body.

Black Friday, Blue Laws, and Thanksgiving Blessings

Black Friday, Blue Laws, and Thanksgiving Blessings

The day after Thanksgiving has become the biggest shopping day of the year. And now, some of the big box stores are inching into Thanksgiving Day itself by opening on Thursday afternoon. A national day of giving thanks has become a national day of acquiring more. We call it Black Friday. At least we named it well.

I think football is to blame. When over-fed men won’t converse with their families, but pile into stuffed chairs and watch football into oblivion, women go shopping. It is payback for the scant thanks the women got for all their hard cooking. I know; this sounds very sexist. Men do cook and women do like football. I’m generalizing here.

But I’m still sad that stores are opening on Black Friday and Thankful Thursday. Because we don’t need more practice at buying stuff. We need more practice at conversing, playing, walking, and talking—at being a family who exits the rat race for a respite of gratitude. It’s hard to do that while you’re wrestling a bargain toy from a fellow human or snoozing to another NFL game.

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