I'm not a big fan of a lot of our Sabbath rhetoric in the church. It isn't that we don't need a rest every seven days, it's mostly that we don't take one, and then we complain about it. In a culture as obsessed as we are with being on the go 24/7, we long for rest, pine for rest, yearn for rest, but don't actually do anything about it. Instead, we like to hear preachers and theologians tell us about the importance of slowing down and letting things be. Which ends up making peace and quiet the top story far too much of the time when there are a whole lot of other things that are more important, like the idea that maybe being part of the kingdom of God actually involves work on our part. Instead, we are so worn out from our day jobs that we collapse into the pew on Sunday for a moment of rest. Religion and rest, both items on the bottom of our lists, wind up in the "someday I'll get around to this category." But we don't, and Sabbath rest keeps on being big rhetoric. It's such a first-world problem, anyhow. If that's the biggest problem in your life, that you are stressed out and worn out, thank God right now you aren't starving or getting shot at. And then figure out how to carpool or tell your kid he can only be on 3 soccer teams this fall, not four. Do something about it.
All whining aside, rest is important. I've got more empathy for the worn out than I ever have had. Back in June, after weeks of wondering, as a first-year blogger, whether I ought to take a break this summer, or just cut back, or keep going, (would my readership suffer?) I decided I would take some time off, write a blog called "Sabbath" to explain my absence, and then knock off for a while. I had just made it through a grueling spring, full of new musical adventures and accomplishments, capped off by a piano concert I threw together in only a few weeks, and I needed to rest from something, particularly as the summer didn't promise the sort of rest it normally does. And then my computer had the equivalent of a massive stroke and died on the 4th of July, and by the time I got a new one we were off to Pittsburgh to attend a conference at a very pricey hotel where they charged extra for going online, so I was effectively blocked from the internet for a couple of weeks, which meant a forced vacation from blogging only days before I planned to take one anyway, and you know what? It was kind of nice not worrying about pumping out a blog three times a week and hoping I would have something useful to say and time to say it in. Suddenly, after publishing every Monday Wednesday and Friday without fail from January through June (even if some of the entries got published very late at night!) it all just....stopped.
And peace reigned. And maybe a few questions. Another dead blog? What happened? Has he given up blogging? Just on vacation. Hmmm.
Actually I imagined very few would notice. I also noted that the spambots stopped reading my blog. And that my blog traffic predictably took a big hit. But I am reasonably confident that the viewers I have left are actual humans (most of them) which is kind of nice. There aren't a lot of you, but it's nice to see you are reading. I hope it's worth your while. There are also just under 100 entries if you need something to do until Monday.
I'm ready to get back at it for another year. I've already begun a new season at my church, programming music new and old, sharing my investigations with my congregation, and hoping to be a resource to my local community and anybody who stumbles into my little corner of cyberspace.
I'm also ready to pick up where I left off. Monday's article will be the last in the series on my adventure with Mr. Gottschalk from June, and then it's back to another year of sharing music and listening tips on Monday, things from the teaching studio on Wednesday, and church music on Fridays. Onward...
Speaking of rhetoric....
At children's choir on Wednesday, while assigning each child a "fruit of the spirit" to sing each in turn:
Bridgette: I want to sing "self control"
Madeline: (her sister) but you don't have any self control.
Bridgette: That's why I want to sing it.
Me: [trying not to bust up, much as their mother did when I told her about it later!]