Drawn to an active and activist-centric life, learning to prioritize rest has been a challenge for me. However, reading Dan Allender’s book Sabbath last spring helped me see new and beautiful ways of how refreshing a day “off” from routine and work could be. Implementing them has proven to be both energizing and enriching.
In short, Allender’s description revolutionized my ideas of what that day could look like. Rather than being restricted to do nothing but sleep and engage in spiritual exercises, the sabbath, as Allender describes, should be a day of pure delight–of exploring, of art, of feasting, of music, of community, of rituals, of play, of enjoying nature. Of the latter, he writes:The earth is bubbling with the presence of God. It teems, swims, gurgles, and cries out, “Holy, holy, holy!”–without speaking a word. And its abundance is so ripe and full that it is impossible to ignore” (p.122).
The first time I got to intentionally implement a sabbath like this was on a writing retreat with a couple of good friends. We stayed in a cabin on a San Juan island and in addition to working on our individual projects, spent some time recapturing our time in nature one evening. Below is what I wrote:
Stepping onto the path next to the sea of grass was like entering an imaginative world of creative wonders. Mountain peaks which had before remained hidden to my eyes appeared out of nowhere; it was as if the curtain in a play had been drawn back to reveal an entirely new scene in God’s theater. Snow-capped, they jetted up towards the heavens where icing pink clouds floated past.
We meandered down the empty lane, the blue Sound spread out like a blanket to our right, the citrus-colored sky to our left.
“I want to smell that wild rose,” my friend said.
She breathed deeply, the scent as fragrant as sweet wine. Suddenly she shrieked.
The bee had plunged to death after indulging in nectar; yet hanging to the outer petal, a live bee lapped its wings. The buried, dead bee began to move as well. A zombie bee?
Yet the magic had only begun. The scenes changed again as a rainbow appeared in the sky. An evening rainbow? Oh the surprises found in God’s playhouse!