years past, with the school year about to begin, we've decided to try observing some version of a sabbath. (I just read that old post about keeping the sabbath, written in 2011. It made me: miss my friends, miss the creative space and time I had for lengthy exploratory blog posts, and wonder at all the changes that have moved through our family since then).
What shape might it take now, with a third grader, kindergartener, and almost 6 month old baby (who tried beets for the first time tonight) in the mix? With a new job for me, a new school for Gabriel, and more commitments outside school and work than ever before? I suspect protecting Sundays for church-going, walking, swimming, reading, cooking, biking, crafting, and having dinner with friends (Taco Sunday remains a hallowed institution) will mean saying no to more things. In order to have a Sunday like that, you have to get a lot done on Saturday. And in order to get a lot done on Saturday, you can't go to a soccer game, two birthday parties, Target and the liquor store, all before friends come over for dinner.
So I think observing a sabbath at this time in our life will probably be defined by making hard choices, even sacrifices. There are so many worthwhile and pleasurable things to do. But when we do too many of them we are scattered and flighty and forget how to be present to one another.
At least I am, I do! My head and heart have been so full with all the transitions that we are in the midst of just now. I have a desperate urge to slow down. Stop, even. Being a student counselor at St. John's is going to be absolutely excellent. Two weeks in and I have a very good feeling. But this kind of work can be emotionally and spiritually intense - as is raising children. Also replete with serious responsibilities - as is raising children - and I fear the low level of anxiety buzzing around me, threatening to creep up my spine and take up residence just beneath my sternum. I think I need a sabbath. In fact I need mini-sabbaths every day and I have been fantasizing about how to create them (turn on the breastpump in my office so no one comes in and meditate for 15 minutes? Sneak a walk in during lunch? Take baths at night?)
Gabriel rode his bike for the first time this weekend. Once he figured out how to get started he flew like the wind. We had dinner with some lovely new friends last night, and Beatrice - who continues to dislike bottles and consequently ate way too much solid food last week while I was at work - marked the end of her pathetic bout of baby constipation with what I will euphemistically call an Event. All over the nice blue towel she was sitting on. We are excellent guests and did not hesitate to rinse her off in their kitchen sink.
Third grade begins tomorrow. Kindergarten begins Wednesday. Life just keeps happening all around me, whether I am calm or fretful, but I like it so much better when a shred of peacefulness is available.
How do you do this? Where do you find stillness, what are your anchors in all this bracing, rushing water? What are the boundaries you create around your family - around yourself - to ensure that you can drag a finger through, dip your feet in, and feel the wonderful wetness of it all?