Readers say Sabbath is God’s gift of a day to ‘unplug’
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
It seems like many of our readers are longing for “licence to still,” as Cochrane coffee companion Elaine Phillips put it in last week’s column.
Morley education consultant Bill Groeneveld was grateful for the reminder to “stop and smell the roses.”
Media producer Ken Fast wrote: “I can relate to this, as I find myself needing more time alone. As well, I’ve been a ‘low-energy person’ my whole life, and even by the time I was 12 remembering that I enjoyed being alone.”
Creativity coach and songwriter Leo Peters was especially enthusiastic. “Wow!” he wrote. “I thought Elaine was speaking directly to me. If I don’t have my daily nap, I’m cranky. It’s people like Elaine ... who inspire us songwriters to create our best numbers. Thank you.”
Longtime Edmonton coffee companion Leanne Forest reflected back on her lengthy recovery from a traffic accident in the early 1990s:
“Elaine really touched me deeply with her sharing,” she wrote. “I guess I often feel the same way. Since my recovery from the car accident when I knew the job of stillness, I have allowed myself to speed up again. ’007: licence to still what a wonderful way to remember a powerful lesson I once had, but had forgotten.”
Another or our e-mail coffee companions, reflecting on the spiritual goodness of rest in her life, wrote:
YO’VELLA’S EMPHASIS on “It is good” is shared by coffee companion Jack Popjes, globetrotting public speaker and retreat master. He’s about to leave for the Far East to speak on this very topic.
“One presentation includes the discipline of silence,” he wrote; “another, the discipline of solitude; another, the discipline of Sabbath stopping to rest and look back on work accomplished and saying, ‘It’s good.’”
The Sabbath has special importance in the Jewish community. You may recall Calgary coffee companion Sandy Corenblum’s beautiful description of this day of rest in a letter I ran last year:
“About the Sabbath we always say that ‘it is not we who keep the Sabbath, but rather the Sabbath who keeps us,’” she wrote. The Sabbath “invites us to rest our weary bodies and weary souls and recharge our batteries after a hectic week of work.” (For her entire letter, see www.coffeewithwarren.com, Feb. 15, 2006.)
Interestingly, in her own response to last week’s column, Elaine Phillips wrote that she, too, has decided to return to the practice of one quiet day per week.
“On this day I ‘unplug,’ so to speak, and allow technology to work for me by giving me a break. I let the answering machine take phone messages, and I switch off my computer for a whole day.” As a writer/editor, this gives her eyes and hands a rest. She still struggles “to balance the need for stillness with the desire to be there” for friends, students and clients, but, she said, “I’m learning that my renewed energy makes the struggle worthwhile.”
All of this reminds me of a line from Psalm 127 I learned as a child a fitting conclusion for this week: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so [the Lord] giveth his beloved sleep.”
© 2007 Warren Harbeck