After Sabbath

Deanna Cook

Sunday evenings is very ritualistic in my life.  It is a time of preparation for the next school week:  preparing lunches, laying out clothes, and packing back packs.  I have found this time essential- a way to frame the next week so it is more peaceful and more prepared.  Those Sunday evenings I choose not to partake in the ritual, I end up regretting it as my Monday morning is spent rushing around making decisions, throwing together a bag lunch, and searching for lost keys.

As I thought about this topic, I did some research.  Did you know that in the Jewish custom, there is a designated time for After Sabbath- The Havdalah Service- which marks the end of Sabbath.  It is performed on Saturday night forty-five minutes after sundown allowing for a relationship to be established between Sabbath and the rest of the week.   The ceremony which is filled with prayers, songs, and symbols allow the participants to reflect on the holiness of Sabbath but also to carry some of that holiness through the week until the next time of Sabbath.

Taking time to Sabbath is vital to our health- physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  In my psychology class, I often teach this concept to my students trying to emphasize the interconnections: but that doesn’t mean I model this practise in my own life.  So many school years, I will run until I collapse of exhaustion during the holiday.  I have spent many holidays sick with a cold or flu because I did not take the time to recuperate and rest.  Yet this last summer, was my extended Sabbath.  I chose not to travel, unusual from my past summers, and I chose not to work or take any classes; instead, I desired a summer of rest.  I found myself exhausted as June exams and end of the school year came to pass and welcomed that time of recuperation.  I spend time making my groove in the couch cushions as I read books for fun and watched way too much Netflix.  And, guess what, it was the first summer in many years, which I didn’t suffer from a horrible cold or worse!

But my Sabbath was just a season and there were many signs that these dreamlike days were coming to an end with the “Back to School” commercials everywhere.   And when the time came, I felt ready to invest myself into work again.  I could transition back to the busy-ness of life because I had taken the time to invest in a Sabbath.  The frantic schedule would return with September but I didn’t feel guilty telling people that I did “nothing” this last summer.  By recharging my batteries, I was physically and emotionally ready for the new school year.  Because I was physically, mentally, and emotionally ready, I feel like I have a renewed spiritual thirst again.  And maybe this semester in Psychology, I can honestly tell my kids about the interconnections of health because I have found that connection or holiness of Sabbath and the rest of my life.

Behold, God is my savior, I will trust God and not be afraid, for my strong faith and song of praise for God will be my salvation.You will draw water joyously from the wellsprings of salvation. (Isaiah 12:2-3)


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