Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Value of Respite

"To do great work a man must be very idle as well as very industrious."
-- Samuel Butler

"Sometimes, on a summer morning, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumacs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time.

"I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been."
--Henry David Thoreau

For me a respite from daily work gives me a chance to remember the beauty of the world around me, to rest, fill up and get an indication of what my heart and spirit need for me to receive.

I used to make patchwork quilts. There's an old early American tradition to always put one square in upside down, sideways, or in some other way not quite right. The idea being that striving for perfection leaves no room for the unexpected to come in. God comes in through the cracks, so to speak, when we let go of doing it "right." When we let go, relax, and just let things be, an opportunity arises for God to come in.

Our way of doing things came be so harsh, damaging, short-sighted, even completely wrong. And filling up every minute with those things we harshly think we absolutely MUST do seems so virtuous, so necessary, so right, we get can get stuck in situations our Highest Guidance would never allow.

But there needs to be room for the Spirit to speak. That's why the Sabbath was created. A time to meditate, pray, check in.

Time off. . . a day of rest. . . sabbath. When was the last time you said "yes" to it?

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