Inching Toward Simplicity: Pragmatics and Prose

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Note to subscribers: The Get Satisfied site is up. Meet the authors and read some excerpts from the book! I am helping to author the House Party discussion guide, which will be posted in the fall.


Johnny Cash writes, in Sunday Morning Coming Down, that, there's something in a Sunday that makes a body feel alone. It’s a mournful song about feeling lost and disconnected. On my recent trip to Weston Priory, one of the themes the Benedictine brothers emphasized was the need for a Sabbath, a day of rest. To me, this need transcends (or precedes) religion, speaking to the universal human need for renewal of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energy so that we can connect and do what we need to do during the week. Here are some links to thoughts on the Sabbath:


This Sunday is the usual choppy mix for me. I want to write my blog, take my mom to check out a new church (she’s seeking a friendlier parish!), food shop, catch up with some housekeeping, and make sure Gavin doesn’t watch too much TV. Tom’s already gone off twice to the dump with brush from the trees he pruned yesterday. I’ve stopped my blog to help load the truck in my pajamas. Later Tom and Gavin will attend a kid’s dinosaur-themed birthday party. I suspect all of us will collapse, exhausted, at some point later in the day.

This may not be a Sabbath a traditionalist would approve of, but still I look forward to the novelty of a day where I don’t need to show up for work, and where the possibility of a late afternoon nap, although faint, exists.

Last Sunday was quite the opposite of today. The women of our family (my mom, my sister, and me) enjoyed a retreat at Weston Priory, a Vermont mountaintop haven for rest and reflection. I am not Catholic, but there is so much I admire about these monks. They pray, make beautiful music, live hospitality and kindness, and work for peace and justice. Last Sunday, after a Saturday of avoiding most of the masses (I also like that the monks don’t keep score!), I greeted the sunrise listening to melodic vespers, took a walk with my family, and ate wholesome food that some very talented monks had prepared (including honey that some very industrious local bees contributed).

The Priory is a once, maybe twice, a year treat, and I get an occasional boost by some quiet days spent a Mercy by the Sea, much closer to home. In fact, many of my personal Sabbaths are not Sabbaths at all. They are, instead, random days off where I choose to write and rest, and my soul feels laps up these delectable treats. Some weeks I survive by clinging to the promise of one of these mini-respites. How I savored Friday, after a Thursday of sorting fire- and soot- scarred belongings from my mom’s house (soon to be ready for occupation again). I worked on the Get Satisfied House Party draft, surfed the Web, and journaled over the course of many hours, accompanied by lattes, cheese and tomato melts, and green tea at Borders, another home away from home.

Just recalling these breathers is enough to let me launch into my busy day. At some point soon I may get more serious about keeping the Sabbath, but for now I am taking my little windows on peace where I can get them.

I have learned that rest and reflection is something that needs to be sought, especially in today’s expectation-laden world. Wishing you many restful windows of your own this week.


At 8/06/2007 5:10 AM, Anonymous Linda said...

Clinical studies reveal that people who take short daily naps live longer. There's alot to be said about "time out".


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