Summer Sabbath

I am exiting this week on fumes. Between Drew working 6 out of the last 7 days and the demands of meeting a writing deadline, I feel as though I am limping into summer vacation. The kids and I exited Church Sunday and immediately bought two pizzas, then paid actual American dollars to rent a movie on Apple TV. What are we, the Rockefellers? I doled out paper plates and without a hint of guilt stepped over toys and clothes and spent the rest of the day in the pool with the kids. Sabbath, for me, has increasingly become defined by praying and playing- exhaling and rolling around in the extravagance of God.

The older I get the more thankful I am to God for setting apart one whole day to rest. Embedded is an invitation to look inward: What does rest look like when I have 5 small kids, and am alone many Sundays? What does it mean to pursue holy, Sabbath rest instead of settling for zoning out? What is rest, and what is work? I take God up on this invitation. I review not only what was actual work throughout the week, but what taxed me, what was draining. I scan the horizon of my days to see what gave life and what zapped it away.

As we begin summer, I’m mindful of the offer to slow down as the pressures of school end along with the busyness of extra curriculars. Summer can be a type of extended Sabbath, a blank slate of possibilities. I take this mindset into my summer- identifying work from rest, vivacity from what has gone stale. Stale: schedules, school projects that require my involvement, responsibilities, being on time, getting out of bed before 6.  Life: sun, books, water, nature, board games, mojitos in the backyard while the adults catch up and the kids watch a movie on the grass under the stars.

You’ll find me posting less this summer, since I’m embracing this season of rest gratefully, gleefully and with both fists. I might post about our travels, if sharing falls into the life-giving category. I’ve been an exporter of words, faithfully, diligently, since January and now it is time to consume some, hopefully by a beautiful body of water.  We are driving the RV all the way up the coast, until we can drive no more and renting a craftsman on Puget Sound for a few nights. Then we will turn around and do it all over again. My main goals are to read as many novels as possible and create as many variations of s’mores as we can think up.

Mostly I’d like this season of rest to be a reflection, because reflecting always makes me grateful. This summer, my oldest turns 13 and I turn 40. These two numbers are significant to me because I never planned on staying at home this long to raise the kids. My ‘temporary’ career hiatus will become a teenager. My doctors never thought I’d make it to my 20-year cancer anniversary, but at 40- here we are. One doctor recently retired and his replacement looked at my file, cancer history, kids, and said, “Well, you certainly didn’t let that slow you down.” I’d never thought about it like that before.

I think mostly, I’d like to link the adventuring and the reflecting- to remind myself that nothing about my life has been stagnant. The world would tell you that you must cram in all the thrills before having kids, since once you do, that ship has sailed. They see my cacophony of children and pull down the corners of their mouths at us at parties, or exiting Target as though I am in need of their sympathy. But these kids have been the greatest adventure of all: teaching me more about God than I ever learned in Seminary, fulfilling me in ways a career never could, stretching and expanding my old Grinch heart many more sizes than I thought it could go.

I’m hoping for you, a season of rest as well. A season brimming with sandy clothes and campfires; of slow mornings and board games. A season of adventuring and reflecting. I know by august 1st, I’ll be twitching for a schedule and a routine. But until then, may your coffee be iced, your feet be bare and your heart be at peace.