Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The challenge of enforced inactivity

Yet another day of enforced inactivity, as the cold doesn't seem to be progressing at all.  So it was amusing (as I watch my responses to both the inactivity and the discomfort) to read Barbara Brown Taylor's Altar in the World this morning: it's as if she's speaking directly to me.

She's talking about the practice of saying no, and particularly about God's commandment to rest on the seventh day.  "Anyone who practices Sabbath for even an afternoon usually suffers a little spell of Sabbath sickness.  Try it and you too may be amazed by how quickly your welcome rest begins to feel like something closer to a bad cold.  Okay, that was nice.  Okay, you are ready to get back to work now... but how will you ever catch up?

... Sabbath sickness turns out to be a lot like other sicknesses, which until now have been the only way you could grant yourself more than one day off from work.  If you flee from the pain and failure, then you run into them everywhere you go.  If you can find some way to open to them instead, then they may bring their hands from behind their backs and lay flowers on your bed."

Hmm, I think to myself.  Did some part of me choose sickness as a way of escaping holiday responsibilities, or because I'm not listening to how overwhelmed I've been feeling?  My family (all of whom were here yesterday) keep asking why I'm apologizing for being sick.  And I can't help but notice what a wuss I'm being about the discomfort.  I did finally get rational about it last night and decide it might be okay to at least take a little Tylenol...

All of which makes me realize how tightly I'm clamped in to the roles I assign for myself.  All the more reason to follow Taylor's advice: 

"At least one day in every seven, pull off the road and park the car in the garage.  Close the door to the tool shed and turn off the computer.  Stay home, not because you are sick, but because you are well... Test the premise that you are worth more than what you can produce -- that even if you spent one whole day being good for nothing you would still be precious in God's sight -- and when you get anxious because you are convinced that this is not so, remember that your own conviction is not required.  This is a commandment.  Your worth has already been established, even when you are not working.  The purpose of the commandment is to woo you to the same truth."

1 comment:

Louise Gallagher said...

What a great idea -- stay home because I'm well, not sick.