We (DH and I) both woke up at an ungodly hour this morning--spontaneously and with no hope of going back to sleep. So we did what any normal people would do on a Saturday morning. We bundled up and braved the 28 degree morning of our mountain town and went for a walk. It was beautiful and dark and starry-- a marvelous, holy mystery of a morning. We walked around our town--this new home of ours-- just watching the world wake up. We breathed deeply the brisk air, and took the time to notice things that we'd always been too busy to see: Flowers that, despite the cold, were standing tall and proud. A seemingly useless set of stairs that went to nowhere-- except perhaps a delightful cottage that we couldn't see. We talked and daydreamed and watched our dogs smell-- despite the hour, we were more awake than it seemed like we'd been in months. We even stumbled on a geocache, which reminded us how much we've missed doing that.
And I realized this is what I've been missing. We've settled in a new town, a new job and a new house, and we are marvelously in love with all of them, but something has been missing. It's been a madhouse of busyness as we've gotten settled and had company and, and, and... and I've missed having a chance to wander around with eyes open in holy wonder.
I've missed sabbath keeping-- not that I've ever done a stellar job of being a sabbath keeper. But it has always, always been a deep longing of my soul. And that's especially true as I'm now serving a much larger (ie much busier) church, and despite the need for extroverted tendencies, I'm still a solitude loving introvert. On a whim, I picked up MaryAnn McKibben Dana's Sabbath in the Suburbs, and have been savoring it one delicious bite at a time. Perhaps I love it so much because she struggles with creating a sabbath practice as much as any busy person, and unlike many of the other books on the subject seem to, her practice of sabbath does not take place in a vaccuum. She has three small children and serves as a pastor, and the world refuses to slow down for her. Yet, she creates a real sabbath practice, at turns by doing things "sabbathly" or by having sabbath moments when the world won't stop long enough to have a whole day of sabbath.
Today will be at least partly a work day for me-- a day of catching up from two days of sickness. But before any of that, there was a thin place of reawakening holy wonder. Before the world woke up, there was sabbath-- a chance to be fully presesnt with those I love in a place I love. As I sit working by the fire, my day is different. I am different.
Turns out there was nothing "ungodly" about the hour...
"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.