Our writers invite you along on their journeys through Lent. Follow the play-by-play of their personal spiritual practices and share your own.
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BARBARA — DAY 20: Sabbath
40 notes to 40 people in 40 days
Over the weekend, I was thinking about the idea of “sabbath.” After two weekends away — traveling for a wedding and then work — it was good to be home. I was glad for the time to relax, spend time with my husband, go to church and then out to brunch with a friend, cook dinner. Sometimes it’s the little things that bring me the most joy.
Back to sabbath. Growing up — I was taught sabbath was a day of rest and a day of worship. My father was always trying to teach us to prepare ourselves for church/worship the night before. Imagine it — trying to pry children away from Saturday night TV in order to quiet our minds and prepare for church the next day. What???? Not gonna happen. Dad set a good example — finishing whatever farmwork or project around the house he was working on and relaxing in his chair — generally reading a book or his Bible. He was physically resting and slowing down, setting his intention for the next day.
Today, I have to admit that my Saturday nights and even Sunday mornings are most times far from restful. I’m usually in a rush to make it to church on time. But the idea of focusing my attention on moments of worship, or true rest or God is appealing. And in some way, my daily practice of writing notes to people during Lent has made me more aware of the importance of such intention.
It’s not always easy to just sit down and send off a personal note. I send e-mails and texts pretty quickly (OK — texts: very quickly. But writing a note? That takes more time and intention. And attention to what you’re doing. There are no “delete” or “undo” buttons on stationery.
My Lenten notes have been a way for me to slow down and add some spiritual intention to my daily life. I actually sat down yesterday and wrote a few — to two people I was able to spend time with on my recent travels. These notes are mini-sabbaths, moments of centering myself, moments of greater thought and intention. I find myself thinking about family, friendships, and connectedness across the miles. I’m reminded what brought many of these people into my life — sometimes these moments were nothing short of a “God thing,” if you will.
Maybe after Lent, writing notes will continue to be a regular part of “sabbath” for me. I think my dad would be proud.