Dear Partners in Green,
What a time in which we are living! For each of us the experience may be different. Some may be living alone, some with families, some with one significant other, some may be older, some young and, of course, in the mix there may be beloved animal companions.
Our emotions can range from boredom, to anxiety, to fear, fear for ourselves, for our loved ones, fear for our economic health, fear for our physical health, fear for the future. I have these worries, but I also have found myself becoming more and more aware of things I had taken for granted, such as having dinner with friends, attending a concert, or even going to a meeting, or knowing that if I had a toothache my dentist was available. There is so much I had taken for granted.
Within all of this I have found one bright spot. I have slowed down. I am not rushing to get anywhere. I have become more intentional. I like soups and stews, and now I find myself really enjoying the process of preparing them: the cutting, the sautéing, the simmering and, of course, the sipping.
I am one with a stack of books I will get to one day, and now, chapter by chapter I am slowly making my way through them. I am not a gifted pianist, but keep my favorite dusty songbooks propped up on the piano. I now practice a little each day.
Through emails I have been re-connecting with old friends whom I have intended to reach out to for months, if not years.
In a way it is as though I am living in another world, the world of Sabbath, which is living with intention. I am paying attention to what I am doing, not just living by rote with my mind two steps ahead of my body. When life gets back to “normal,” I hope to keep this intentional living, for within it I find gratitude and appreciation for the little things, for that extra moment of sunshine, for life itself. It is not about accomplishment or success or completion, it is about the moment and it is about gratitude and love.
I truly believe that if we had all lived this way, there would be no environmental crisis. And if we all embraced this way now, there will be hope for tomorrow.
Environmental experts say the planet is getting a breather, but what will happen when the Coronavirus is behind us and we are back to business as usual?
Here is an article which is sobering, but I believe necessary to hear: Coronavirus offers reprieve from air pollution
If only the world would resist the desire for more and more and embrace the meaning and the lessons of Sabbath. To this end, I recommend as a good place to start, Sabbath as Resistance* by Walter Brueggemann, a renowned scholar and theologian.
In this poem,* Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet and mystic, also seems to be encouraging an attitude of Sabbath. It is this poem that encourages me to walk over to the piano. I am hopeful that it may lead you to a piano, or to a set of knitting needles and a ball of yarn, to fabric and thread, to a paint brush, to drawing pencils or pen, however it is that you express the beauty that you love.
Today, like every other day,
We wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love, be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
I have three suggestions for you this month.
- In honor of Arbor Day and Earth Day, if you can purchase, or in some way procure a tree(s), plant one, or two, or three.
- Though it is a temptation, refrain from on-line shopping, except for necessities.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
I leave you with this indescribably moving song by Leonard Cohen:
Wishing peace and health to you and your loved ones.
Thank you for being on this journey.
Till next time,
*Brueggemann Walter, Sabbath as Resistance. Westminster: John Knox Press, 2014.
*From The Illuminated Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks, New York: Broadway Books, 1997.