Social distancing, job loss, economic downturns, disease, and death are making this time treacherous for many people. I know the horror of watching someone die on a ventilator (my beloved husband, Jim Banks) but at least I was able to be there with him. I was able to have many people around to comfort me. I know the fear of the unknown of the future. I have lived the challenges of trying to stretch money until the next payday. I also know that my experiences are not nearly as terrifying as those that thousands of people are facing today.
And yet…and yet… strangely…
I am discovering this to be a time of sabbath for me. My calendar is clear from work, church, friends, and even family. There are no meetings (except the occasional Zoom meeting or email group conversation), no preaching, no teaching, and only rare face-to-face contacts with friends. My family lives in other cities (my mom is under total lockdown at the retirement community where she lives) so I am not dealing with home schooling or living 24/7 with the same people ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY! Family is limited to face time, texts, and phone calls. My toilet paper supply is adequate. I can pay my bills. I do not have to learn to work remotely.
I am discovering a freedom that I’ve never experienced before. I am responsible for nothing and for no one other than me. I am limited only by my imagination. Even not being able to go to craft or thrift stores has turned into a blessing because I am forced to peruse the materials, clothing, and items that I already have. I have begun to reclaim neglected creative outlets.
I can take all the time I want for reading, contemplation, yard work, housework, and napping. I can even learn how to make banana bread. Of course, I eagerly await seeing my hairdresser, massage therapist, and cranio-sacral therapist but I know they will be there when everything opens again. I know that being with family and friends and colleagues will be sweeter because of this time apart.
I am learning to embrace the gift of this time even though I don’t always see it that way. I am trying to rest from all the work that I have done. I am trying to be grateful and accept the blessings of this sabbatical time for my spirit.
“And on the seventh day God finished the work that [God] had done, and [God] rested on the seventh day from all the work that [God] had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because God rested from all the work that [God] had done in creation.” (Genesis 2: 2-3)