A COVID Sabbath

COVID-19 has created a worldwide need to rethink the way we do things. The things we take for granted have fallen away and we’ve had to restructure our lives and our ways of doing everyday things. Work stopped being at an office desk and started happening at our kitchen tables or living room armchairs–or sometimes even a park bench, if we were feeling brave or claustrophobic. School was no longer in a classroom, but on the internet in a Zoom class. We began to rethink our “need” of haircuts and manicures and gym classes. Many of us were even hesitant to enter our doctors’ offices for a regular checkup. Restaurants became sidewalk cafes.

After more than a year of these changes, with many individuals now receiving their COVID-19 vaccines, life is slowly returning to normal. In some ways, this is a good thing. I’m not entirely certain that we are designed to be creatures of seclusion. Even those of us who call ourselves introverts, finding a strong need to recharge our internal batteries in solitude, need the interaction of others at some point in our lives.

But I am finding that somethings might not need to change back to the “old ways.” As I sit propped up in my bed while writing–because the second COVID-19 vaccine I received yesterday is making me a little disinclined to sit at a rigid desk–I find myself thinking about how slow my life was this time last year. My house was filled with adult kids who had found themselves temporarily unemployed and homeless. Our lives were a day-to-day mix of reveling in our “cozy” togetherness and the frustration of having so many people living on top of each other 24/7. But overall our lives were slow, restful, almost like an extended holiday with nothing to do and nowhere to be–just relaxing and enjoying our time together.

There’s a reason God built a “sabbath” day into the idea of a seven-day week. The word itself means rest. So while we were meant to reflect on His goodness on this one day each week set aside, we were also meant to rest. To slow the pace of our lives down and just be. Take deep breaths, relax our minds, our bodies, our weary hearts–and rest. How many of us really do that? Our “days off” from work, our sabbath days, are a chaotic mix of rushing to run the errands we’ve neglected during the week, rushing to and from church if we go, and rushing to and from some supposedly relaxing activity or sport. We never slow down. We never stop rushing. We never actually rest.

When I got my first shot four weeks ago, I knew that the second shot would probably be the one that gave me the stronger symptoms–it seems to be what the experts are saying will happen. So when they told me I’d be getting the second shot on the 28th, I made a point of not scheduling anything on the two days after the vaccine. I planned for a COVID sabbath, if you will, in order to rest while the vaccine teaches my body how to fight little spiky viruses. If I actually get any work done today, it’ll be a bonus. So I guess this post is a bonus. And after this post is written, I’m seeing a soothing hot cup of tea and a good book in my near future, while I continue to rest on this very comfortable bed. 😉

Wouldn’t it be nice if at the “end” of all this pandemic mess–when the vast majority of us have been protected from the fear of this new disease with a brand new kind of vaccine and the world opens wide for us to reenter–that we don’t lose sight of our ability to slow down and just breathe, enjoying and savoring the ability to inhale and exhale deep, long, restful breaths. Yeah, the hustle and bustle can be fun. But it can also be quite draining. Maybe as we reenter the world of “normal” we can find a balance between the total shutdown of life and the ever-draining, constant motion we lived before. Maybe.

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