Stop. Rest. Think. Pray.

This Sunday’s sermon was about time. It was our (beloved) pastor’s first Sunday back after a 3 month sabbatical. He talked about the Sabbath — the divinely mandated one day in seven of rest. He talked about how God himself, after a hard week making creation, took a break. He raised the question: who are we, to think that our labors are more important and more critical than God’s governance of the created world? He could and did rest. Are we so much more integral to the running of the universe?

And he was talking to me and I knew it.

But he didn’t condemn me. And he didn’t say that the working and the striving are bad. He just reminded me that time needs to be taken for all things in this world. God did work hard for the six days. He may even have pulled all-nighters.

We had dinner with a friend from church. He owns his own business in order to make his own hours. He theorizes that we Americans are so busy because if we stop, the silence of the void within us might echo back. And so we’re afraid to stop. I’m pretty sure that my inner life is not echoing. I believe it to be rich, and have taken time for it. But he may very well be right, that it is not a comfortable thing to stop and hear.

My pastor also made a suggestion. In our bulletin was a corny little photocopy of four windows. Pick, he said, four windows of time between now and Thanksgiving. Make them good blocks — four hours or so. For those four windows, stop. Rest. Think. Pray. Do not even plan to do those little hobbies that fill up the corners of our time. Allow that time to be open. Do not do the chores. Do not plan ahead. Do not prepare. Stop. Rest. Be at peace, four times for four hours.

And he is right. I need to.

I threw away my bulletin with the little four windows. But I have before me my calendar — a pretty Presbyterian calendar that I always hope will remind me from whence my time on this world came. I must, of course, coordinate with my husband (who will point out that I do not have these quotes verbatim — that’s what they said to ME dearheart, whether or not it’s what came out of their mouths). But I will do it. I will find four fours. I will obligate myself to let go. I will mark them on my calendar, and they will be inviolate. And I will stop, rest, think and pray.

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