Saturday, May 31, 2008

keep it holy

It's so funny that Kim commented about Sabbath-keeping in response to my first post about lowering our consumption. I'd already started on a post about that very topic. Here it is.

I think the first really counter-cultural thing we did that started us on this path of less consumption was starting to take a Sabbath. Dyami heard a conference speaker on the subject of a day of rest, I'd read a book (imagine that) that talked about what an Orthodox Jewish Sabbath could be like, and we were both inspired.
Our rules were pretty low-key. No work (writing/studying/contracting/housework/regular work), no media (CDs, movies, TV, radio). We did decide that cooking, driving, eating out and quite a few other things were kosher on the Sabbath. Shopping was a kind of grey area.
I think of all the changes I've ever made in my life, this was one of the best. I come from a place where workaholism is a real temptation. I love being busy, multi-tasking, and being efficient. I also get kind of anxious when I don't have enough to do. Sometimes on these Sabbath afternoons, that happens.
That gave me pause. Why should resting make me anxious? What does all this business in our life really for? Is it because it's necessary? Or is it there to fill holes in our spirits?
Sabbath taking made me confront some of the big lies I'd been telling myself: I don't have control over how busy I am. I don't have time to rest. I have to do this work now, because otherwise it won't get done. Sure, we all need time to get our stuff done (Note: we started Sabbath Keeping before Lucy--it was a heck of a lot easier then. One would think God would include childcare in the Sabbath provision, but for some reason He did not).
Generally, work can wait. Housework, bill-paying, projects, take-home work, small business upkeep. It can wait. It can wait at least a day.
It's eerie--the times when we've decided not to honor the Sabbath since then, the times where we had to work, we worked and worked on Sunday, making no headway, and then on Monday morning, we've had aha! moments where the seemingly intractable problems resolved themselves. Spooky.
Bottom line: we are not in control.
So what does Sabbath keeping have to do with environmentalism?
I think it's the first step in taking stock of how broken our culture is. It's a wakeup call that we're all desperate, seeking solace in things (busy-ness, consumption) that cannot give solace. Not doing is profoundly counter-cultural, which is a great baby step for other counter-cultural things.
It's a great first step to being aware of the things you do on a daily basis. To take stop. And think.
I think thinking about this world a little bit more might help things, don't you?

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