I started into this blog thing all gung-ho and such and then real life set in and I was a bad blogger. Forgive me.
Now it's Reading Week (aka Fall Break) and I have no excuses. Just precious time and space. Most people went somewhere for the week: home, vacation, etc. But alas, Travis doesn't have a break and even if he did, we'd still be broke and traveling costs money. So, I'm having myself a nice Durham fall break, which is nice. Yesterday was my home day; I knew there was cleaning that needed to be done, so I made myself do it first thing. 5 sinkfuls of dishes, one bleached and mopped kitchen floor, 3 loads of laundy, and one vacuumed house later, I am done. One plus: since it was home day, I feel no guilt about not showering and staying in a t-shirt and soccer shorts all day.
Sunday night, we went out to dinner with some people from church. It was our 3rd Sunday at Emmaus Way, and I finally feel like I'm starting to know people, at least surface-level know, which is how it begins. It was a small group, which was good for conversation, and included a missionary couple who was in town for the weekend. Steve and Amy were around a couple of years ago when the church was starting up, but have been in South Africa for about 2 years now, working with an organization called ServLife. They work with orphans and neglected children and help women start up their own businesses. Listening to their stories, I realized how little I really knew about the country of South Africa and its history. I mean, I know about apartheid and Nelson Mandela and how the country is portrayed in the Poisonwood Bible, but that's where my knowledge ends. Over dinner, they graciously answered our questions and told us about their life there.
And now it's Wednesday and I am stuck in the rut that I get when I have too much time on my hands. It's not that I don't have many options. There's the schoolwork that I'm supposed to get done, there's the million little things at the house that I've been meaning to get to, I could get my butt to the gym...the list goes on. Then there's the attractive possibilities: thrift stores, walking in the park with the pup, reading (NOT for school), watching movies that Trav doesn't want to, spending ridiculous amounts of time at the coffeeshop, etc. Most of the things that I associate with relaxing involve money and I need to separate these. Things like getting a manicure, going shopping for clothes or house things, going to the movies or out to dinner. I need to see true relaxation as just that: time and space to let go. Yes, I might always enjoy indulging in things like a good haircut or new outfit, but those shouldn't be the things I turn to when I need to unwind. For one, we don't have the money to spend on extras, and two, if I learn to rely on things or places to unwind, what does that say about my attachment to material things. It's no coincidence that the book that I have to read over break is called by Abraham Joshua Heschel a Jewish (ahaha, clearly) scholar. I'm only a few pages in, but we've been studying the concept of Sabbath in most all my classes and so my mind is already on the subject. Our Spiritual Formation retreat that I posted about a couple of weeks ago was centered on this idea too. I think it's really amazing that the idea and practice of Sabbath is at the center of the curriculum and life in my first semester at Duke Divinity. It seems to be something that is taken quite seriously by the faculty and, at least attempted by, the students.
I think the most significant thing I've learned about Sabbath thus far is that it is a command of God; it is not a suggestion; it is not a thing to do when we feel like it or when we have time; it is a must, like honoring one's parents or giving to the poor. Why have we let it slide? Why isn't it more important in churches? How have the Jewish people managed to remain faithful to the Sabbath, but Christians haven't? Obviously, I know there are many answers to all of these questions; just thought I'd share some of the things running about in my mind.
There is so much about my life here, in Durham, at Duke, about the first year of marriage, that I want to write about. Honestly, I don't know where to start. But I am thinking and processing. Maybe I'll be inspired soon. Maybe actually taking a Sabbath will release the floodgates. Watch out crazy internet world, watch out :)