Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Celebration of Sabbath

I’ve slept late the last two mornings. Shamelessly late. I’ve drunk coffee until almost noon. Flavored coffee with full-fat cream. I’ve read my books at brunch while munching homemade muesli with chopped nuts, dried cranberries, and brown sugar. I’ve savored chocolates brought to me from Germany. Soft chocolate drops filled with lime cream.

It feels richly decadent.

I’m writing this on my deck, sipping Lemon Zinger iced tea and watching the children swim in the lake. The temperature is perfect; the air is clean and clear. I’ve quieted the “shoulds” and “musts,” all the things I need to do, the remaining plans to make for the upcoming school year…

It feels quiet. Wonderful.

After months of a life that’s best described as reined-in chaos, I finally feel relaxed. An ahhhh has settled into my soul.

I know it won’t last. It can’t last. Like the speaker in Frost’s poem, I, too, have promises to keep. And I’m glad for those promises, those responsibilities. They are the best of privileges.

Is that perhaps why we feel guilty, like we're wasting time, when we say yes to the calm, the quiet, the peaceful? Shouldn't we be doing something? With our lists, our plans, and our responsibilities, we who are so used to doing much and filling our lives with busy-ness can actually feel anxious at the thought of basking in sabbath.

Jesus knows me, and He knows what I need, personally, to best fulfill all He has asked me to do. A time of rest and refreshment -- and a bit of chocolate – restores me.

I wonder why we often neglect to refresh ourselves in the gracious blessings the Lord sprinkles throughout our lives? Especially those of us whose lives are lived nourishing others, serving, reaching out, drawing in, encouraging, daily clasping to ourselves the things of God so that we may open our arms wide and offer it abundantly to other souls.

In the last couple of months I've noticed that my offerings have seemed small, not so much in the size of the service but very much in the spirit of my serving. Is reluctant service really service? Or is it merely another chore? I’m not sure.

But I am sure that it's time to rest.

So I say a resounding YES to this blessing of respite with a heart full of gratitude. And I pray you will, too, whenever respite is offered to you, in whatever form, small or large. This is one of God’s marvelous gifts to you.

This morning, my dear friend called to me from the beach, where she was wading in the lake. “The water is so gorgeous today! Isn’t this the life?”

Yes. It most certainly is.

Lovely photo courtesy Foter.


  1. Ellen I'm so happy that you're having this time to relax and unwind. I, too, wonder about giving without any resentment. In particular I wonder about the admonition to "give without counting the cost" because sometimes, when we carry very heavy loads, there really is a cost.

    We're on a week-long holiday at the moment and it can be challenging to unwind. I had a few hours to myself yesterday, away from my caring duties, and it was such a challenge not to worry and feel guilty! (I did manage pretty well.) I just kept remembering something a friend encouraged me to keep in mind: "Whatever I do for myself, I do for her [my daughter]."

    Enjoy being replenished.

    1. Thank you, Christine. Very wise words. It took me several days to finally unwind. Enjoy your holiday!

  2. I am very happy for you. You brought some nice breeze to my day with your post.


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