Today felt like a true sabbath. It began with my wonderful wife tending to the baby (who woke up at seven AM) so that I could catch a few more z’s. Every weekday is her day to entertain the baby in that 7-9 AM period before the first nap; consequently, I am glad to watch Katy Jo on the weekend days so that she can sleep a bit longer. However, I think my bride knew how tired I was this morning after the two of us stayed up until almost midnight watching a rather long movie (Polanski’s The Ghost Writer – decent, but quite long-winded, story-wise). She tip-toed out of the room, blessing me with a little extra rest.
Later on, in between some odd jobs and taking turns watching our eight-month old scoot around (she’s mobile now, and apparently believes her feet are plenty secure for pulling up on anything, thus requiring constant supervision), I was able to spend some time writing, feeling my way through a story, stumbling along the path of sentences dimly lit by the flickering lantern of a concept. However, creating in this way often feels more like a release than a stress, a respite rather than work. I put reality on hold and spend time in another world where I am little more than a people-watcher, following my characters as they think and speak and interact with each other. I’m like a man in the park, reclining on a bench in the background and breathing in the energy of life that surrounds me. For me, writing a story is a great way to honor the sabbath. Once again, I have to acknowledge my wife – I’m glad I have someone who has been patient enough to learn how important this odd, seemingly unproductive work is to me, that, when given time, it becomes a labor that replenishes rather than drains.
Today, the rest simply continued. Since I’m still wearing my Aircast and receiving ultra-sound therapy on my injured foot, I cannot take part in my usual Sunday ritual of indoor soccer, something I usually look forward to all week and am often preoccupied with on Sunday. However, today, I can honestly say that I hardly gave Sunday-night soccer any thought at all. Instead, I rested on the floor of the living room, watching Katy Jo goo-goo, ga-ga, and da-da-da-da to every little object I held out to her, watching her strain to pull herself onto the couch to try to get to Mama, watching her waddle-crawl back and forth from me to the toys. Earlier, while Leigh and I shared a sandwich-and-soup lunch, and I was spoon-feeding our daughter applesauce, Leigh said that she really felt like we were a family and asked if I felt the same. “We are a family,” I said. This isn’t a simile – this just is.
I’m blessed beyond measure. I have a wonderful wife, a beautiful baby girl, and constant opportunities to enjoy life. I don’t mean to brag in this post – that’s not the point. What I mean is that sometimes we are spoon-fed glimpses of wonder, like occasional mouthfuls of applesauce. But every once in a while, God shakes the apple tree and the wonders rain down upon us. We are overwhelmed. These are good days indeed.
I try to remember the way these good, restful days make me feel whenever I find myself trudging through the bad ones. I think this is part of the reason for the sabbath in the first place – to rest up and grow strong for the next round. That might sound pessimistic, but only if you haven’t placed your trust in just how restful the good days can be.