Friday, 3 September 2010

A double portion of manna

I'm not sure how long this will last, but...

I've been taking one day off per week for a long time now. I used to keep various rules for what constitutes a "day off" but now it is mostly "a day where I don't do anything unless I feel like it." All plans for my day off are provisional: if I'd rather stay in bed that's what I do.

Anyway, for years, the pattern was teaching work on Sunday, academic work Mon-Fri, day off Saturday. It didn't take very long, once the teaching work moved to weekdays, to fill Sunday with other kinds of work. Sunday is a special day for me, but it is not a day off; what I do in the mornings is worship, but it is still definitely work. Often I go to services in the afternoon and the evening to participate in or study what other congregations are doing, musically; I like it, but it's very much work. When that doesn't happen, Sunday is turning into a sort of study day. I like that, too, but it's still work.

I've been mostly taking Friday or Saturday off, depending which one is available.

Here's the problem: there is a Day Off, and then there are various chores. You know the sort of thing -- laundry, grocery shopping, the weeding in the garden that I truly don't feel like doing but which needs to be done, that kind of thing. These aren't things that belong on a day off, but they also aren't things I necessarily get a chance to do during the working week.

I'm thinking about taking two days off. I can't really justify taking two days off of practising... but I'm thinking about designating either Friday or Saturday as maintenance-focused rather than career-focused, so that I can do what practising needs to be done and then run around doing the various chores so that on my real day off I can rest without these things hanging over me.

What brought this on, of course, was talking to someone else about the importance of taking a day off. I wrote:
The idea is that God gives us a day to rest, even dropping a double portion of manna the day before... the idea is that there is value in your resting as well as in your working, value in your sleeping as well as in your waking. There is as much value in dreaming as in filling out forms, there is as much value in not trying to achieve anything as in striving to improve the world. God's kingdom includes your day of rest.

I think that last bit is the bit that we lose so easily.

The Kingdom of God includes our rest. It isn't only, as I wrote earlier in the same e-mail, that our rest makes our work possible, that without rest we wither, lose our edges, lose our flexibility. It isn't only that we need to rest: it is that our resting, in and of itself, is part of living in the Kingdom of God.

Tomorrow is my day off. I'd better get on with some laundry!


UKViewer said...

The discipline to take a day off, when you are basically self employed is one that is really needed. Failing to do so, just discharges your energy, while time off re-charges it.

I have found since retirement that there is no day off. Not that everyday is a day of toil, but I have so much else going on now, that it is unusual for a day to pass, without my doing something connected with vocation, study or church related activity.

I have tried to keep Friday clear for housework, going to lunch with my spouse and just lazing around. But today, an Essay due in a week has impinged - it is overlong and I have been trying to precis it, without losing the sense of what I am saying. I also had a little bit to do on a charitable account that I am treasurer for.

Sunday is my Sabbath - but I attend two services, sometimes working sometimes learning but always worshiping.

Life is a real mix, and full and joyful, I am now in the process of the Church testing my vocation, with monthly interviews and task to complete before the next.

In addition, spouse, siblings, grand children, friends etc, provide a framework of love and friendship which is community and love in one.

Tomorrow is atraining day run by the Diocese followed by an additional session of tuition and study. So the merry go round goes on.

I often wonder how I had time for work (a cliche I know, but one I have found to be true).

But there is down time to read, relax, listen to music or watch a particular DVD or just 'be'. It is just making the most of that time when it is given.

Life is great and so is God.

it's margaret said...

Yes --true Sabbath is not the day one should pull weeds....

Jan said...

Come back!