a little something extra

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sabbath 24

In this chapter Muller discusses humility -- not just as a virtue for its own sake, but as a way to get out from under the feeling of Responsibility For Everything, All The Time. That feeling can keep us tied to the exhausting wheel of perpetual effort. In Muller's opinion, when we make space to recognize that we are tiny in the grand scheme of everything, and when we take sabbath rest and witness the fact that lo, the world does in fact continue spinning on its axis, that disaster does not result because we took our hands off the metaphorical plows for a little while; then, not only do we gather in the benefits of the actual rest we took, we receive a much greater blessing -- the feeling that we are not Responsible For Everything, All The Time. With practice at sabbath, we can make it so that we will never be that tired again.

Of course, there are lots of reasons to disagree with Muller. In one of Cristopher's posts about a previous chapter, he noted that he and his wife discussed how one of Muller's weekly exercises was clearly designed by and for someone who didn't have a boss, a pet or a kid. Confronted with Muller's thoughts in this chapter, I find I feel somewhat the same: this is work written by somebody who wasn't single and living thousands of miles from all his nearest and dearest.

My major point of reflection and eventual difference from this chapter illuminated something I hadn't recognized before in my response to this book.

It seems to me that Sabbath takes no real note of the future.

I worry about the future a lot. I worry about it financially (will I be destitute when I am too old to work full time?), I worry about it professionally (what will happen when my current bosses finally retire), I worry about it in terms of health (again with the too old to work), relationships, and all other dimensions of my personal life. Sabbath doesn't help me much with those worries. Muller's view of time seems very short -- a day, a week... never much more than that.

So. Muller's book wasn't written with my specific situation in mind. Big deal! I'll make what use of it I can, and forgive him for not hitting my personal nail on its particular head every single time.

In the bigger picture of this book's intentions, I think worrying about the future is as debilitating a full-time occupation as any other form of stress or worry that sabbath practices are intended to counteract. So, I have the opportunity here to figure out how to put sabbath practices to use in my individual situation.

That's it for this week. Tripp's post is up. And now, so is Cristopher's.


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