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musings from linda 3/17/23

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

A friend of ours recently retired. He was quite happy — but his spouse was ECSTATIC! They could travel!! Get projects done around the house!! Expand the garden!! Their pastor wisely suggested — “Don’t forget SABBATH time...” Remember the Genesis story?

God created for 6 days and then rested on the seventh… creating the “Sabbath” (from the Hebrew word šabbāt = to rest).

Professors and clergy folk earn “sabbatical” time which way too often translates into a paid leave for taking courses, earning an extra degree, writing a book or producing a project of some kind… ALL OF THESE miss the real meaning of “sabbatical,” which is — REST — simply taking time to BE….

-- rest, renew, relax, recharge, restore --

Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk and spiritual icon who passed away last year at the age of 95, devoted his life to teaching the inner practice of mindfulness… of being totally present to the present moment… of just BE-ING.

A favorite saying of his says:

“We do so much, we run so quickly, the situation is difficult, and many people say, ‘Don’t just sit there, do something…’ So you should say, ‘Don’t just do something, sit there.’ Sit there, stop, be yourself first — and begin from there.” Who would ever think that this would be such a HARD thing to do? But our society, coupled with the old Puritan “work ethic,” demands that we use every minute to be PRODUCTIVE in some way. No slacking off! Work hard! Work HARDER!! Taking time for self-reflection or for gazing at the ocean or napping in the hammock doesn’t fit the prescription. Don’t just do something … Sit there… A favorite Chalice Hymnal hymn (click here to listen: close eyes: savor it) calls us to do just that…. “Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead. Find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed. Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes that we can see All the things that really matter, Be at peace, and simply BE. AMEN.

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