The Art of Sabbath: Winter



“What we harvest in this season provides the seed for the next season. In Sabbath time we taste the fruit of our labor, and prepare seeds for the week to come…Every season brings forth its bounty in its own time and, and our life is richer when we can take the time to savor the fruit of each.”

~Sabbath (p.67)

It is in my nature to decide what is good (productive, happy, helpful, giving, active) and try to make those “good” things happen in my life always. But now more than any other season in my life, I can see what we need might be different than any other time in our lives.

Right after selling our home and most of possessions, we went on a weekend trip to visit some old friends. My precious college roommate was pregnant with her fifth child, refereeing a basketball game that was being played in her living room all while making dinner and graciously making conversation with us.

Her family lives in this yummy historic home full of games, puzzles and books at every turn. The basement is busting at the seams with toys for every phase of a child’s life: johnny jump-ups, ping pong tables, and costumes. Every crack and crevice is filled to the brim with the possibility of play.

With an air of exhaustion and a hint of shame, my dear friend said, “We could really use some advice on how to declutter this place.”

This is why we need other perspectives in our lives.

I knew with a certainty I have rarely known in my own circumstances that their beautiful mess was exactly what they needed. It was perfect. The only work to be done in that old house was the work of the day-the next meal, the next load of laundry, the next boo boo kissed and the next story before bed.

With the same appreciation I have for my new small spaces and simplified living, I was also thankful for their abundance.

…Remembering the days that my garage was so full of kiddie toys my new neighbor thought I ran a day care.

…Celebrating the season when we would wake up to a wide open day, a big back yard and no plan but to explore and take naps.

My life was a mess and I wouldn’t rush through one of those un-measureable childhood hours for the illusion of an organized home.

It has occurred to me several times during this Sabbatical that it is no accident my need for nourishing what is underground comes along side my own children’s transition from childhood to adolescence. It catches my breath when I come across these words in today’s chapter:

“So it is with the seasons of our children’s lives, with each passing year a different kind of care, now more holding, now more letting go. Successes are replaced by tender insecurities, confidence turns to awkwardness, until new triumphs straighten the spine and fill the emerging soul with courage” (Sabbath, p. 67).

My own confidences about parenting are also tinged with tender insecurities. I find myself awkwardly navigating areas of life that used to feel so certain. This Sabbath time is one where I (some days patiently, some days not so much)  wait in the beauty of the exposed winter branches trusting and honoring the vulnerability of the season.

Click here to order your own copy of Sabbath: The Sacred Rhythm of Rest by Wayne Muller.

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