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Sabbath Rest: A Reflection

April 1, 2022
Our rescue kitten Stella looks out at the world from the safety of our home

This time of Sabbath rest has been unusual to say the least. Stepping away from active ministry has given our spirits time to recalibrate. It has also given us time to focus on completing a task/journey that began for Denise on October 4th, 2021. With the exception of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and downtime as we recovered from COVID (Merry Christmas 2021!) Denise was spending four days a week in Florence, Alabama sorting through her parent’s possessions and decades of paperwork from her dad’s professional life with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a research scientist.

This week the keys to the apartments were turned in and the cars were sold. But it was last week (Thursday March 24th to be exact) that a wonderful sabbath gift came into our lives. That morning, Denise heard meowing coming from under her dad’s truck. A poor, hungry kitten who looked like she had spent a long time outside in the elements was asking for help. Denise bought a can of food which was gobbled up immediately! Three cans later (an hour or more between cans) the little one’s appetite seemed to be temporarily satisfied.

Looking at each other we realized that we had been adopted. After a visit to the vet (the follow up appointment is next week) and a trip to the store, Stella has a carrier, litter box, toys, food, and treats. More importantly, she has a safe place to live and us to care for her. What a transformation we have seen in our sweet Stella.

The transformation — from homeless kitten to the center of our family ♥️🐾

It has been through this encounter that I have begun to reflect more fully on our time of Sabbath rest. Has it been busy? Yes. Has it been what we planned? Nope. I have always said, If you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans! Has it been exactly what we needed? Yes!! Even though the pace may not have slowed down as we had hoped, the spiritual recalibration is happening. For me, the focus on being with and helping Denise with the monumental work in Florence has been life-giving. Yes, that even included packing a 26’ UHAUL full of furniture and driving it to Mobile where a homeless rehousing initiative at Denise’s church (Central Presbyterian Church in Midtown) had a storage unit that we filled! Life giving activity and work are truly a gift. Spending this time with my beloved has also been tremendously life giving.

Thomas Merton wrote in his book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander about the need for balance in life. There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

Activism and overwork are indeed a serious issue these days. This combination leads to the kind of burnout that I experienced over the past seven years of ministry and the deaths of family members and the decline of another. As I continue to digest the lessons of these past two months I am sure that more lessons will be revealed. In the meantime I am going to take a lesson from our sweet Pixie who crossed the rainbow bridge this past November. That same energy and lesson is now channeled through sweet Stella. The two HRH’s had/have a lot to teach me if I’ll slow down and pay attention.

Slow down and enjoy the present moment Mommy and Daddy ♥️🐾♥️🐾
6 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on Anniegoose's Blog and commented:
    This is spectacular. Read. Enjoy. Slow down. Relax. Breathe.

  2. This is beautiful. The lesson I have learned from Pixie – Relax – Let Go – Release – Breathe. Enjoy the moments in the sun.

  3. Stella is beautiful! I’m sure Pixie is smiling down on all. ❤️

  4. Jacobs Anne permalink

    Your messages give me a lift and many smiles, especially now that Miss Stella is part of your family! Anne Jacobs

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