Like most spiritual practices, Sabbath has subjective elements to it and is interpreted differently by different people. A few weeks ago, someone told me that my current schedule isn’t really a sabbath – that it’s normal, a manageable schedule. You see, when I’m home in Muncie, my schedule looks like this. I get up at 7:15 a.m. and get my kids up and moving so that they are start school by 8:15 a.m. From 8:15 a.m. to around 3 p.m., I am busy educating my children. It takes a lot of work to make sure they are getting the education they need to be successful in high school, even with the virtual support. During times when they are working independently, I am am doing a better job of tending to the work in my home. I clean a few corners, put away clutter…you know, all the things we all have to maintain in our home but don’t post on social media because it’s not very glamorous. I also get to sit on the porch some, read a little (with interruptions), and sip tea, so this really feels like a sabbath practice to me compared to my former pace of life. Then, at 3 p.m., I begin my Inspire hours, the part-time work I am continuing this year in support of our school…and in support of funding our skoolie adventures and paying the bills. My husband takes over ensuring the kids finish their work and provides any necessary supports (what would be “homework” in a traditional setting). I have worked well under 20 hours for the school all but one or two weeks so far, so the hours are very limited. Around 5:30 p.m., I usually stop and enjoy the evening with family and friends.
Fair enough, this is not a sabbath schedule that has me sitting with my feet propped up all day, every day, but I don’t think that is what I’m looking for…or what God is looking for from me. I am taking trips with my family quite frequently. These are restorative for the body and soul, even the busy ones. I suspect that I am finding a pace of life that will work for the remainder of the years my children are in my home. I am almost beginning to see this year as a time to sort through where I should land by the end of it.
The biblical concept of a sabbath year is actually for the land, not for people. It is a year to let the land rest from being planted, a year to rest from giving all of its nutrients away to sustain other life, but I’m not working my land. (I’m probably tending to my yard more now than in the past five years.) I’d love to fix all the issues of being disconnected from the land. I’d love to plant my own gardens and live off of them, but I am fairly certain, for a variety of reasons, that my little plot is full of more contaminants than the average. This is not the thing I need to fix. I am simply fumbling through how to practice a sabbath year in a society in which I am disconnected from the land because I know that letting the land rest in an agrarian society means the people were working less. I need to figure out practicing healthy patterns of rest and work as a healthy being who believes God’s voice holds authority. He says, “Rest.”