Gratitude #1–No blistering August heat this morning. Minty-coolish breezes instead.
Gratitude#2—A favorite, redheaded five year old bairn with me all day last Wednesday. I asked him what his favorite part of the day was the day before.
“Meeting my new teacher. But, Mim-Mim, do you know what my favorite thing is today?”
“No, what is it?”
“Being with you!”
Awww-www, doesn’t get any better than that!
Morning sunlight was pouring down through the bulky Afghan pines where I walked today. I’ve seen it many times, so it is a familiar sight. But the thrill of those golden rays, glinting and slanting through the thick, shadowy needles felt new, like never before seen. It was what I like to call a Sabbath moment, a chance to step back and see the familiar in a fresh way, rest a little before a busy day grabbed my soul and ran with it.
Nature and her familiar expressions in our daily lives are always ready to gift us with Sabbath moments. Nature is another way to experience Sabbath, as rescue and haven from thorny problems and restless juggling of life details. My red crepe myrtle and sunny yellow lantana have withheld their blooms all summer long until now due to recent rains. There’s another focus point of rest for the eyes and heart, especially when Mr. Sand-Man was so close-fisted with his grains of sand to help me sleep last night.
Another expression of Sabbath for our lives can be those familiar friends or family members we see often but with whom we have the kind of closeness that makes it safe to share our feelings, our inner court of the heart, not just details of what we did all day. Anybody and everybody loves to boast about what they accomplished today or moan about what went wrong. It’s ok. It has its place.
But someone to share the heart’s response to the events and tasks of the day—that’s a gift. Not everyone experiences this: someone familiar with whom we can share in ways that are rare in our skim the surface, surf the web lives.
I’m talking about a soul friend, someone to share our spiritual landscapes with.
In ancient times a soul friend was an indispensable relationship for the nurture of the heart in the midst of daily life. It was different, as in one person was considered to be a seeker and the other was the guide and counselor. But in today’s whirling world we can mutually tend each other’s souls, providing the Sabbath experience again, just by conversation and prayers offered with heartfelt simplicity for a blessed day or however we are led in our meanderings to seek and find God in our daily details…help each other find God in every nook and cranny, working for our good.
Some people check in with each other once a week, others 2 or 3 times, others every day. It is a way of keeping in touch with your own self, reflecting on how you feel about what is going on in your world, as well as in touch with another and with God. Some people do so by phone, email, or text message when pressed for time but wanting the regular contact and prayer. Face to face visits over a cup of coffee or tea, a walk in the park together, even running errands together can provide Sabbath moments for the willing to check in, to pause, to regather energy and then get on with other parts of life.
Solo time to be alone with God for 15 minutes on a week day or 3 hours on a weekend afternoon or morning—there’s more opportunities for finding the gold in our lives and experiencing true Sabbath. Time spent enjoying nature, alert and aware to the familiar and yet ever new features of trees, birds, flowers, rocks as well as the Sabbath rest to be experienced with a non-judgmental, caring, listening, heart sharing friend or family member…all these allow us to see a familiar slant of light but with new eyes and often hearts surprisingly renewed in the process.
What practices of Sabbath make sense for your life?