Sabbath is for rest. But it is also a good opportunity to point our restlessness heavenward. Like a wisteria plant, our restlessness needs to be trained to go in a certain direction, or else it follows a path of least resistance. When we recognize that our loneliness, our hunger, our weariness, our disappointment—that these are not final verdicts but only rumors of things unseen, it changes their meaning. It empties them of their power to defeat us. It fills them with an energy to spur us toward deeper hope. —Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God (emphasis mine).
This morning, the sky is white and there is talk of more snow and I put a little trickle of honey in my oatmeal as I get ready for the day. Because sometimes you need life to be just a little sweeter.
It’s been a long week and I’ve had trouble finding words—I’m another year older but each day finds me feeling more and more like a little girl. The rabbis say it is a sign of wisdom when one feels the older she gets the less she knows but all these storms raging inside of me only leave me trembling with inadequacy.
This morning I finished reading Mark Buchanan’s book on Sabbath, The Rest of God. As is my custom, when I turned the last page, I leafed back through to remember which words whispered most to my heart. I always read with pen in hand, underlining and scribbling in the margins whatever springs to life in the shadow of the print. I left a lot of markings in the margins of this book.
Buchanan says that there are two golden rules of Sabbath: Cease from what is necessary and Embrace that which gives life. As I re-read that second rule marked with black ink, I felt it press in upon me and echo in my spirit.
Embrace that which gives life.
Shouldn’t I do this every day?
In Deuteronomy, the Lord tells his people, “...I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life…that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him…” (30:19, emphasis mine).
Choose life. How often do I choose poorly? How often do I wrap my fingers around all that will wither and pass away? This restlessness inside of me often leads me to the places that quench my spirit—a temporary filling that leaves me emptier than ever in the long run.
I have been weary and disappointed. I have been hungry for deeper hope. I have been choosing the wrong things. Today, in this moment, I will choose life. It will mean listening closer—with the ears of my heart.
Already I feel the beauty stirring inside of me.