It’s Saturday and this is my first post of the week. As one might guess it has been a busy one. My task list grew longer as time grew shorter. I had papers to complete before Holy Week “break” and needed to finish some tax and financial aid filings. There were Holy Week bulletins to create and sermons to write (or at least think about!). It was busy! Added to the mix was the difficult discussion in my Field Education class this week. We read some case studies that dealt with challenging and painful situations in parish ministry and we talked about how to address those needs in a variety of contexts while offering care and compassion to everyone involved. We cried together and supported one another. The conversation was helpful and fruitful for all of us, but emotionally draining. By last night my brain was fried and I was tired. I couldn’t possibly think of doing another thing! I looked at my “to do” list with fear and trepidation. What had I left undone? Could those things be done at a later time?
One of the items that had not yet been checked off the list was some Sabbath time. It’s one of those things that is so easy to neglect or put off until one has “more time.” And for that reason I purposely schedule it on my calendar and write it on my “to do” list as a reminder that it is critical to my well-being and it is a priority in my relationship with my Creator. I looked at the list and sighed. Why had I left this “task” till the end of the day? Didn’t the God who gave me breath deserve more than my sighs of exhaustion at the end of the day? And then I suddenly realized that I had it all wrong. Spending time in the presence of God was not some task that I have to “do” – it is something that just requires me to “be.” That’s it – nothing more, nothing less, just “be”ing. And how peaceful and calming it was to just “be” in the presence of the Divine. Not “do” … just “be.” Maybe I should have a plaque made to remind me of that.
My task-oriented mindset is part of who I am and there are advantages to that in ministry. Perhaps, though, I need to reframe or shift my thinking a bit. Sure, I will probably still schedule Sabbath time on my calendar and write it on my daily list – not as a task to be accomplished or a “thing” to “do,” but as a reminder to just “be.”
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. ~~ Psalm 84: 1 – 2 NRSV