When I first read the book Rest, maybe 7 years ago, I was tired of running the rat race. I was desperate for permission to rest and I had observed that some people I knew actively chose a day of rest. I was uncertain howto apply the idea of weekly rest to my life and Kent’s book gave me a starting place to build some pause in my crazy week-to-week.
Regular, weekly rest?
The word and idea of weekly rest continued to grow when I met Jeremy, for whom Saturday was an intentional, specific and important rest day. He is a disciplined person and had many routines in his week, but Sabbath had celebratory, almost sacred rituals. This practice intrigued me, and in fact, the desire and ability to rest together was key for both of us in valuing our relationship early on.
I chose to re-read Rest this past Spring because the roots and observation of Sabbath had been on my mind. Resting seems vague, what is Sabbath really about? Is it fair to plan to take a day of rest on a day when others usually want to hang out? In other words, is there still reason to Sabbath, and what does that look like in our actual lives, especially as we enter a new season?
As I read, once again, I learned and was re-affirmed in my desire for a weekly rest. I also saw ways that we could grow in our practice of it. Kent describes Sabbath as a day more focused on loving God and loving others. We see it as a day resting from giving to others so we can be refueled to focus on loving God and others the other six days.
An interesting tension that I don’t think we’ve reconciled so much as recognized that we want both in our weeks. Re-reading Rest challenged and encouraged me to consider the details of the Koziols observation of Sabbath in 2017 and beyond, so to speak. What is my hope for Sabbath in 10 years? What can I incorporate now?
What does regular, weekly rest look like?
I really like some of the ancient Jewish ways of practicing, such as welcoming the Sabbath with a family meal, candles, best dishes and words of thanksgiving, blessing, remembrance. This idea is not something I feel I have to do or that everyone should do, it is something that I am fascinated by and want to observe in our home. Since Saturday seems to be the day that works best for us, starting with a Friday evening meal at sunset is one way I can revise our lives to emphasize Sabbath.
Doing so will mean preparation during the week and more challenge on the Fridays I work, but I am grateful that there is freedom both to make a special feast or to order take-out. I hope that my family will want to participate in this time, but there are many options for a Friday night! The details of what follows – talking a walk, telling stories, or playing games – are less important to me than the time for family to gather and share a meal, and then spend time making memories together.
Our Saturdays will in some ways remain unchanged, but I think there are revisions we can make here as well. We’d like Saturday to include time for me to rest, for Jeremy to rest and for us to rest together. We may not rest in the same ways or at the same time. We may choose to not go shopping and be available relationally, or we may need some time to simply be. Saturday evenings are usually date night for us.
Sundays are usually a time to gather and celebrate with our larger family. As teachers, Sunday afternoons are usually spent preparing for the week ahead, doing chores, or as a catch-up day. There is something unique about creating and maintaining a weekly rest and there are challenges.
The good news? Sabbath is a practice and a journey, and I’m in the middle of it. Also, I’m not alone in it. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
If you are curious to learn more, read chapter 3 of Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Rest, available here. Join us next week for part 2 of Chapter 3!