Saturday afternoon, my fridge stopped working.
I was bewildered. The freezer was still humming away. The power wasn't off. No fuses had tripped. What would make the fridge go dark?
I turned to Google. And while it didn't help me solve the problem, I learned something unique about my appliance: It has an optional Sabbath mode, which puts the fridge in a temporary shut-down state. When the Sabbath mode is on, the fridge's lights won't turn on, the compressor won't run, even the ice-maker won't function. In this way, an orthodox Jew can still open the fridge to get a drink without causing the fridge to work and thus breaking the commandment to rest on Shabbat. Even ovens, dishwashers and lamps can be sold Sabbath-observant, I discovered.
I love my Jewish brothers and sisters, and their centuries-long commitment to keeping the Sabbath. They have sustained something mysterious and beautiful and dedicated to God's commandment. I believe that the Church has missed something precious by walking away from the Sabbath ritual.
But I also think, an over focus on the law causes us to miss the heart.
Sabbath, to me, is more than rest. It is restoration and renewal.
Yesterday, I celebrated Sabbath. I didn't take a nap or bake a cake or sit quietly and contemplate.
Instead, I cleaned my house.
The last two weeks, I've had family here from Colorado. We spent days at the beach and evenings at the park and we swam in the pool and ate ice cream after every meal just because. We picked strawberries and made pie and went to bed only when it was dark and drank strong coffee when the little ones arose with the sun.
It was the best kind of exhausting exhilaration.
And today? Today marks the beginning of VBS at our church. So I will be out the door early every morning this week, herding my own children to a building with 200 others so we can praise God together.
So yesterday, I needed a day in-between. I needed a day to right the ship and restore order to my world. I needed some soul quiet, a chance for me to encounter God in these quotidian mysteries.
So I washed sheets and towels. I cleaned toilets. I wiped my hair off the bathroom counter and dog hair off the floor. I scrubbed milk spots off the oven doors and I deadheaded the petunias. I pulled a lasagna out of the freezer, put there for just such a day, and baked it for dinner.
And then, when the work was done, and I was sweaty and sore, I put on my bathing suit and jumped into the pool with the kids and laughed at Kieran's belief that he can swim and clapped at Teyla's new doggy paddles. I cheered Connor's cannon balls and marveled at Natalie's lean legs standing straight up in the air during an underwater handstand.
Corey helped me carry plates and cups outside for dinner, and we ate lasagna and salad and strawberries on the patio as the sun set behind the pine trees. And the kids ran around on the lawn and tackled each other and shrieked in delight (and sometimes in frustration, let's keep it real).
By nightfall, when I took a shower and climbed between clean sheets, I was completely refreshed. Even though I hadn't stopped moving all day.
It was a great Sabbath.
Last year, my word was Sabbath. So I wrote about it, a lot, including the entire month of October, which you can read by clicking on the 31 Days of Sabbath button on the sidebar. But apparently, I'm not quite done.