if you’re soul-starved for sabbath

“Do not let Sunday be taken from you.
If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.”
(Albert Schweitzer)

Ironic confession for summer’s sweet center: I am starved for Sabbath.

Between finishing our book on miscarriage, a delightfully busy season at work, and all the kids home from school (all day, every day. EVERY DAY), life has been spinning too fast and frenzied.

I’ve been noticing for weeks now that I need to slow down. But I’ve reached that crazed threshold of CANNOT CHOOSE QUIET.

Whenever there’s a second to spare, I’m jumping onto email (because who isn’t woefully behind?) or cleaning folding washing scrubbing or trying to catch up on one of the zillion projects I’d love to tackle if I could find the time. My mind monkey-hops from one thing to the next, nudged forward ever forward by the flash and press of the phone, that constant companion of distraction and compulsion.


What to do when you can’t slow down?

I talk about this often to parents (#irony). How to make time for rest in our busy family lives. Ways to set aside screens to reconnect with each other. Tips for letting Sunday look different from the rest of the frantic week.

Now I sorely need to take my own advice. So this weekend we’re unplugging.

Maybe you can, too? Ever since I started singing the praises of #phonefreesabbath on Instagram, I love hearing from readers who are experimenting with offline Sundays.

If you need inspiration or practical tips for how to reclaim a restful rhythm for your week, here are ideas from my latest column for Catholic News Service:

“Even before our family’s rhythms slipped from school schedules to summer’s slower pace, I had started to notice the restless itch. The inability to slow down, the frantic rush from one must-do to the next, the nagging guilt that stopping would be lazy.

We read in Genesis that God rested on the seventh day. But too often we dismiss this notion for our own ‘crazy busy’ lives as quaint or cute, a heavenly nap on the couch after a long week of creation.

But what if — like every one of God’s actions — resting on the Sabbath was a powerful and profound act of divine might and wisdom?”

Read the rest at The Catholic Spirit (or your local Catholic paper).

May you delight in discovering the God who waits to rest with you…

For the Sabbath is the counterpoint of living; the melody sustained throughout all agitations
and vicissitudes which menace our conscience; our awareness of God’s presence in the world.
What we are depends on what the Sabbath is to us.”
(Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath)

p.s. If you’ve got great Sabbath practices, please share below in comments!

3 thoughts on “if you’re soul-starved for sabbath

  1. We don’t do any work on Sunday, if we can help it. Sometimes there is hay to be made or something in the garden that HAS to be dealt with or it will rot, so we do it. But mostly we try to play and rest. We almost always talk about the Mass readings and homily with the children — what do you remember? What happened? It often leads to some great discussion and thinking.

  2. Get outside. We try to do this on Sundays as a family, but I try to remember to do it anytime life is getting too frentic. In the mild weather, this means hiking or a playground. This summer, it means going to a pool or a lake.

  3. Quiet time! Our two boys still nap daily, so this is really no different from any other day for them. But I almost always lay down at the same time as they do on Sundays, and for my husband who finds mid-day naps disorienting it usually means an afternoon cup of coffee and reading the Sunday paper with no one but the dog for company. We also walk to church whenever possible (it’s only 5 blocks away, so I know that’s not an option for everyone) and I try to make dinner something hearty and simple. Oh, and husband and I usually watch a show together on Sunday night after the boys are in bed as a semi-date night to start our week together.

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