You're stressed out. You're overwhelmed. You're running to catch up. You're amazed that there is yet another load of laundry to fold. Or maybe I should be writing this in the first person. Here's the scenario of our past few days: Our babysitter is sick. William threw up (not only did he throw up, but then Peter picked him up and promptly slipped in the vomit so both of them ended up on the floor and, well, you can imagine the state of their clothes and my sister's kitchen). Penny had an ENT appointment last week that took six hours total time and a cardiologist appointment yesterday (all is well) which took five. I have missed the deadline for a slew of writing projects. We need to decide on a rental house for next year as soon as possible.
I often think the answer to weeks like these is working harder. Staying up late. Getting up early. Maximizing productivity. Letting William watch PBS Kids while Marilee naps and I catch up on the bills. And although there's a place for using time wisely, I also become deceived by the idea that with just a little more time, a little more effort, everything will be under control.
I'm reminded of Genesis 1, the lyrical account of God's creation, in which every day begins with chaos and then ends with order as God sets things in their place. But what struck me recently, as I stacked dishes in the sink and swept the kitchen floor and picked up the toys scattered about for what felt like the seventeenth time that day–what struck me was that every day of the week, God had more to do. From chaos to order, over and over and over again. Kind of like our playroom. Kind of like my heart.
But the gift, the gift at the end of those six days of beautiful and cosmic but somewhat repetitive work, the gift was a day of rest. Of celebration. Of contentment.
Two Saturdays ago, I spent the day cleaning up and organizing and managing the household. And the day was filled with purpose and joy because I did it in preparation for the day to come. I ran the dishwasher and washing machine with the knowledge that I would not turn them on again until Monday. I sat at my desk and responded to email and I knew that on Sunday I could take a nap or read a book or take a walk instead. I paid bills thinking about sitting with friends in church and listening and singing and participating in a community of faith. The peace I anticipated on Sunday gave purpose to the tedium of Saturday, and suddenly it wasn't so tedious anymore.
In "Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious" (which, I should add, is now available on Nook), I have a section about practicing the Sabbath, an intentional day of worship, community, celebration, rest, and service to others, so turn there if you're interested in reading more. And whether or not you read more, why not try it? Just once–use Saturday to get ready to have a day of rest, to receive God's gift and thank him for it.