a little something extra

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sabbath: Afternoon

Perfect poetic justice, blogging about this chapter on a Sunday afternoon. It's a gorgeous day in my beachside city. We came out from under a pretty crushing heat wave a couple of days ago, so while it's sunny (It. Is. Always. Sunny.) the temperature is comfortable, and there's a breeze. When i walked out to my car this morning, parked near the ocean, the sailors were out in force.

Muller is winding down. There's only one more, short chapter after this one. And this one consists almost entirely of one-paragraph descriptions of the Sabbath afternoon practices of different people he knows. Some are more literal -- taking the afternoon of the traditional sabbath day to write letters, or make phone calls. Others are not confined to the afternoon or to a single designated day -- one story involved the spouse of a political candidate who escaped the stress and pressure of campaigning by taking long walks; another described a person's practice of playing the flute for an hour or more every day.

To an extent I can see how these practices promote rest and restoration for a busy time ahead.

But my Sunday afternoon challenge tends to be different. What I need is company. As a person who lives alone, I find it perpetually difficult to get enough contact with other people to sustain me. And the attempt requires more extroversion that I am naturally given, so answering that need may actually be an anti-Sabbath practice -- it drains more energy than it renews. What to do?

Today has represented a particularly potent edition of that challenge. I've fought it with phone calls and time spent online. I am also not above a little retail therapy -- I decided to buy, and paid for, an addition to my wardrobe of opening-night options. (I found it on eBay, Mom, so no, I didn't pay [shudder] retail!)

I'm trying not to fight it by distracting myself with work, a tendency I have really worked to change in recent years. But if I'm still lonesome this evening, I have the option to go down to the theatre and watch the third preview of the show I'm currently working on. I attended previews the last two nights, and they don't strictly need me tonight.

Last Sunday, by contrast, was full of social plans. After church I dashed up to Pasadena (note to self: during the next triple-digit heat wave, avoid Pasadena -- it was an oven) and had lunch with Dear Friend #1. Then I attended a matinee of a play, after which I met Dear Friend #2 for drinks and nibbles that lasted into the evening. Having every Sabbath afternoon be like that would be prohibitively expensive. But it wouldn't be lonely.

It also helps to make social plans for later. I'm solidifying plans with a friend to come down next Saturday, and I'm having two other couples over for dinner the following Friday. Knowing that awaits in the future also helps stave off loneliness in the present.

And what's interesting is, I don't have trouble being alone. I just have a surfeit of opportunity to exercise those skills. I need a better balance, and that is [expletive deleted] difficult to come by in this stage of my life.

Links to Tripp's and Cristopher's posts will appear here.


At 5:00 PM , Blogger Tripp Hudgins said...


This is lovely. And, you know, touches on how I understand communities of faith...Muller talks about calling family and making time for people as a spiritual discipline, as part of Sabbath. You do this so well. It is one of the things I admire most about you. This post is a great example of how community is Sabbath and is, as such, holy.


At 7:57 AM , Blogger meeegan said...

I'm afraid I can't agree with you there, Tripp. But I bet that does not surprise you.

At 11:02 AM , Blogger Tripp Hudgins said...

I know...But there it is again. Heh. It's amazing that I have learned about the holiness of community from you and a sibling or two.


At 12:51 PM , Blogger meeegan said...

It's that whole "love one another" thing.

At 2:44 PM , Blogger Tripp Hudgins said...

Right,love one another. Be community. Be holy together.


At 9:19 PM , Blogger Benjamin said...

First: of a Sunday, you can always call me. If I am out tennising (a good bet of a Sunday) I will call you back as soon as I can and take as many of your hours as you will allow. If I am not tennising, I will take as many of your hours as you will allow.

Second : you are no more a size 8 than I am. What's that about?

At 10:02 PM , Blogger Benjamin said...

It occurs to me I should be more clear : I would easily put you in the 4-6 range rather than 8 (me, I'm like a 18 or so)...

At 8:06 AM , Blogger meeegan said...

Ha! That's okay, Ben, I got it.

If it's too big, I can always have it taken in. There's a good, inexpensive tailoring shop near where I live.


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