Thursday, April 28, 2011
Sickness and Sabbath
I have been sick the past week. It has been rather inconvenient and miserable. The misery was compounded by the fact that I became ill during Holy Week. Of all weeks to be sick during the year, this is by far the most inconvenient. I had parts in the Seder meal, was designing and setting up the service for Good Friday, needed to participate in our church's Holy Saturday work-day, and I looked forward to Easter service! There was so much to do and so little time to do it. To complicate matters, schoolwork and helping to plan our wedding consumed my energies. I was staying up late writing papers, getting up early to complete tasks, going to class, attending meetings, and reading books. To say the least, rest was the last thing I could afford at the moment. It was an inconvenient thing I pushed to the side so that I could accomplish all that needed to be accomplished. But, the body has a funny way of reacting to all work and no rest. There comes a point where it eventually forces you to rest. Exhaustion takes its toll. The immune system runs like a beat up Ford Pinto. Finally, Sabbath is forced upon you. Many of the tasks that I had planned to accomplish or the things I planned to attend were put on hold. They did not get accomplished. Work became secondary. My body, which God designed, had re-oriented my world. At first, I was not at all pleased with this situation. I worried about all of the "dropped" responsibilities I had neglected. I resented my body's lack of stamina. Eventually, however, I came to appreciate the "Sabbath" I had been forced to observe. The world continued without me, the church did not fail, my work eventually was completed. My lack of productivity was directly linked to my lack of rest. But, more than that, the lack of rest atrophied my ability to enjoy life at the moment. Sickness usually does not come at convenient moments, neither does Sabbath. There's always something pulling for our attention. There's always something needing to be accomplished. But, finding the value of rest can make all of the difference in how we truly live, not just exist.