Sunday, October 22, 2006

Reading "Week"

Every semester at LSTC, we have a week to read. During fall semester we don't get Monday off because of having Labor Day off earlier in the semester. Since we always have Fridays off, it's really more like Reading Three Days. I strenuously object to the false advertising of calling it "Reading Week." And I didn't actually get any reading done. I spent the week taking a sort of extended Sabbath. It's something I've been thinking about this week quite a lot. On Monday, I took a midterm about Genesis in Dr. Klein's Pentateuch class. In the first creation story, way back in Genesis 1, God takes a Sabbath. We talked in class about how God's resting indicated (for the Priestly Writer) that taking a Sabbath was part of the fabric of the universe.

Sabbath is a concept highly discouraged in our society. The idea that idle hands do the devil's work is pervasive. But I am starting to think the opposite. Never idle hands do the devil's work. I've never listened to anyone who cautioned me that I was, at that moment, trying to do too much. But when I am in that frenetic stage of my life, I forget to look around at the others and I, for example, don't do the dishes at our apartment thinking my roommates or a house elf will magically appear and do them. I don't take time to pray and I sit in chapel and think "I really should come back some afternoon and just pray until I get some of the crazy out of my head." But I don't come back because I find something to take up my time, even during Reading Three Days when I have extra time.

A little bit of self-disclosure. I need time to play. I have a lazy streak in me a mile wide. If we lived in a world where we measured tendencies in ourselves in geographic denominations, my tendency to be lazy would measure a mile. I am not one of those people who can be self-disciplined enough to work even three days straight without a break. I like to play board games. I like to do absurd things like run around in a park with water balloons (in the summer) or go sledding or splash in puddles in the rain or color in a coloring book or build things with legos or pick up leaves that have fallen and try to find the best red one and the prettiest multi-colored one. My systematics professor calls worship the place where we come to play. I haven't really wrapped my head around that thought yet. Don't really know what that means, but maybe it has something to do with how I feel closer to God when I am happy, how I feel a strange mix of exhilaration and peace when I am playing. I am completely missing the nuances of his metaphor, I am sure, but I'm making a new one, just borrowing heavily from his. Playing is how I open myself up to God, let down my defenses of Enlightenment thinking and see the other people in the world around me.

My roommate last year took a Sabbath. I watched her be very dutiful about giving herself time off and I realized how ridiculous it was that by taking some time she was actually being subversive to a culture which says efficiency and production are the ideals. So my new post-Reading Three Days resolution is to play every other day for at least a little while. We'll see how I do, but I am going to be purposeful about it, take a Sabbath for a few hours now and then and maybe try to pick one day for a true Sabbath when I can play and pray. And for heaven's sake, I am going to try not to feel guilty about it, realizing that if the Sabbath was good enough for God at creation, then certainly it is good enough for me.

So these thoughts and a few beautiful leaves are all I have to show for Reading Three Days.

1 comment:

Pastor Joy said...

Yes, yes, for Sabbath!