I will admit: I work way more than I should. I have been known to come into the office way too early, and I’ve stayed long after we are closed for the day. I take work home with me at night or on the weekends. I’m even typing this blog post on a Saturday when I probably should be doing something other than writing for work. It’s hard for me to take a break when there’s so much to do! Diocesan Convention is next weekend, Nightwatch is right around the corner,and it’s that time of year when we start the momentum that moves us toward the start of summer camp. I always think, "why should I not do anything when there is always something to be done?" This is a terrible flaw of mine, one that I'm aware of; yet, it is one that I have never really tried to fix.
Last night I was reminded of the importance of Sabbath in the middle of a busy life, even if it is only a few minutes here and there. I was invited to a Friday night gathering in Old City with some friends. I rushed through my day so I could take an earlier train downtown (I didn't want to be late!), and then I rushed to get myself to the restaurant where we were meeting. I arrived at the restaurant only to discover that instead of starting at 5 PM like I had thought, the gathering didn’t start until 6:00! I had a whole hour before everyone else would show up.
I decided to use that hour to my advantage and take a walk through Old City. I walked up Chestnut Street, toward Independence Mall. Since I had the time, I stopped and sat on a bench on the mall. I took in the beautiful fall colors (I love the colors of the changing leaves!) and spent some time in silence. I sat in quiet in the middle of the busy city, and, for the first time in several days, I felt at peace. I felt like I was in the presence of God, even though tourists were walking and noisy busses were driving past me. I sat there for a good 45 minutes, and, during that time, I felt like I was finally experiencing some Sabbath at the end of a chaotic week.
Perhaps true Sabbath doesn’t need to come on a “day off.” Perhaps it isn’t sitting around doing nothing. Perhaps true Sabbath comes at a time when I need to just take a breath, slow down, and spend some time in the presence of God.
This year I will challenge myself to take more Sabbath time. I will challenge myself to take time to stop doing ministry for others, and to minister to myself. Maybe, if I just stop for a moment and spend some time in the presence of God, I can find more peace in the middle of chaos.
How do you spend your Sabbath time?
Victoria Hoppes is the Associate for Youth & Camping Ministries for the Diocese of Pennsylvania. She likes to spend her Sabbath time reading, dancing her heart away during zumba classes, and laughing at the crazy shenanigans of the nerds on The Big Bang Theory.