I stopped – even though my work wasn’t done – and played all day.
I left my house with beds unmade, laundry strewn, toys scattered. I left bowls of soggy Cheerios on the counter and I left the Little People mixed in with the blocks and I left a clean load of clothes in the dryer and I’m pretty sure I’m still missing a sippy cup of milk.
I let it all go.
So I could go here.
The North Shore of Minnesota, where Lake Superior kisses the rock beaches, and jagged cliffs are lined with birch and evergreen and berries.
And in autumn? God’s glory shines. Golden aspen and crimson sumac, orange maples and white bark.
The air is dry and tinged with an earthy rot and the smoke from scattered campfires. The breeze off the lake is bracing but the sun is warm.
The water, be it one of the many waterfalls that spill toward the lake, or the vast lake itself, sparkles as if scattered with diamonds.
Going Up North, as it’s known in these parts, is a sacred pilgrimage for me. It’s impossible not to worship. I am renewed by this. My soul is filled with a joyful peace. I am satisfied.
And I would have missed it, if I had waited until my work was done.
I have been profoundly shaped by this small paragraph in Wayne Muller's book "Sabbath."
There is astounding wisdom in the traditional Jewish Sabbath, that it begins precisely at sundown, whether that comes at a wintery 4:30 or late on a summer evening. Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop because we are finished. We do not stop when we complete our phone calls, finish our project, get through this stack of messages, or get out this report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is time to stop.We stop because it is time to stop.
I love that. I do it very rarely. I tell myself I will rest so much easier if the laundry is folded, the dishes done, the Little People farm animals in their rightful barn stalls.
What I’ve slowly come to see is the truth of Wayne Muller’s words, and the deeper truth in God’s command to Sabbath. The work is never done. I will always forsake the important for the urgent.
If I am to Sabbath, I must learn the hard stop.
Tell me: When was the last time you stopped even though your work wasn't done?