Sabbath

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“I’ve been rethinking the whole Sabbath thing,” God says, as we share a green smoothie and watch a spectacular sunrise. “I don’t think people get it anymore, and I’m afraid it’s been pigeonholed as something exclusively Jewish or contorted by the evangelicals. They’re masters of contortion.”

“Ah, um, well,” I say, caught a bit off-guard. “What is it we’re supposed to get?”

“You tell me,” God says in her slyest voice.

My defenses flare. Flecks of spinach float in the blueberry kefir. There was a time when I had a grasp on Sabbath—the crossing over from chaos to rest. From flailing to faith. It wasn’t Jewish. It wasn’t Christian or Muslim. It was kairos—the fullness of the moment—an eternity in which nothing and everything mattered, including me. It was a fleeting glimpse of nirvana, a deep plunge into enlightened trustingness. It was a backfloat on the salty sea of oneness—effortless disconnection from the workaday days and dream-addled nights. But the ways of the world drained the sea. I often found myself floating on mud, so I crawled away from Sabbath, and now I shop, grateful the stores are open.

I look deeper—I can’t help myself. I remember the way in—through a door where guards strip-searched souls for fear, shame, and crippling uncertainties. Then, the chilling nakedness was quickly covered by 5-star hotel bathrobes of pure compassion, tenderly wrapped around the body; furry slippers placed on weary feet. Someone pays the bill in advance, but you have to share the room with yourself. I’m not an ideal roommate.

Resting in God is a place to live. Entering the Sabbath is what children do when they build a treehouse high in the clouds. It is soft and safe up there. There’s hope and magic. Crackers and apples and cheese. Communion. I had a treehouse like that. I built it mostly by myself, but my dad had to shore things up here and there. The memories make me dreadfully homesick.

“Okay, you’ve made your point,” I say, dragging my restless self into the present. “Let’s drop it, okay?”

God tips her head back, shaking the last slow drops down the inside of the gleaming glass. They spill into her open, happy mouth. “Good smoothie,” she says. “That really hit the spot.”

 

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