Ever have one of those vacations where you loaded so much into it that you got home and thought, “I could really use a vacation now,” ? That was how the first leg of the sabbatical went. London. We were trying to do London in 4 days. Needless to say, you can’t do London in 4 days, but we were going to try. The tower, the palace, Windsor, Stonehenge, Oxford, Westminster, parliament and Big Ben (Scaffolded), Hyde Park, Trafalgar, and the list goes on. My Fitbit said we were averaging about 22,000 steps a day (roughly 11 miles). And oh yeah, we were keeping that pace with a 6 and 3 year old, which meant we were carrying them much of the time.
Don’t get me wrong, this was amazing and incredible. We had a delightful time and enjoyed every minute of it. However, by the time we got on the train to Edinburgh, everyone passed out for large portions of the 5 hour train ride that featured no features. Upon arriving in Edinburgh, everyone immediately started coming down with colds, and it was clear that we had all overdone it.
All of this has me reflecting on Sabbath. The idea that rest is a planned portion of our existence. That it is, in fact, a crucial part of what it means to be faithful. Rest. We cannot be God’s children without taking rest. God even takes rest.
There are certainly times when we need to move at a brisk pace and work hard. The truth is, we are pretty good at that part–especially as Americans. Even Jesus and jis disciples after long stretches of work ended up plucking grain on the sabbath and were chastised for it. When being accused of breaking the Sabbath by the Pharisees, Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) It might seem that this is a loosening of the Sabbath structures, but in all reality, it is also a reminder that the Sabbath is a gift from God that is to be enjoyed.
For me it has been important to remember this in the midst of “Sabbatical.” What is Sabbatical exactly? I have been asked on numerous occasions on this trip if this is for business or pleasure. My answer is usually ‘both.’ I am taking time to study and learn more about the art of storytelling and my family’s story. However, as a sabbatical, I often have to remind myself that this is also about rest. It is okay to take time to rest and recuperate.