Sabbath is a theme around here…you’ll find a new invitation to set down the load, drink deep of the week here every weekend.
I’ve had an extended Sabbath…a slow continual feast. A hope-infused retreat. That’s how it goes with us. I come through my mom and dad’s door weary, carrying life heavy and arrive back home energized. You would too if you knew them. They are a double tag-team of inspiration. They build back the broken places so I can move forward with courage. More about this amazing event later in the month. You won’t want to miss their redemptive story (that’s me on the far right with my beautiful girl):
And back in the cocoon of home, desire has risen fresh with the morning and here I am clicking on the computer with last week’s glittery gold nail polish half worn off.
I’ve been completely separated from the demands of everyday life and it’s been healthy.
Life has a way of sifting itself out when you set the heavy things down for a time.
And that’s just what happened. Somewhere along the two weeks of continual holidays, I set down my phone beside the bed and it migrated under the mattress where only fingers could shimmy it out and for days it lay there forgotten, undemanding.
What had gripped me hard in an escape from isolation during Advent had been lost until it was time to go home and you know what?
I just lived. Facebook stilled. Twitter grew quiet and emails piled up unanswered. But I lived. I whipped up countless batches of scrambled eggs, stole moments by the fire to read, and played countless games of Ticket to Ride with my brothers, Andrew and dad into dark hours. I raced my children down the hill on sleds and my only striving was making baby Ulee break out in those smiles that would wave full through his entire body.
I lived full of feasting, taking large gulps of joy.
Everything else lay fallow.
Whatever a Sabbath might be, a stillness or a feasting. Sabbath always includes setting down our ordinary and letting work lie fallow.
Someday I want to pack Andrew’s camera and take a trip back to Malabar Farm in Mansfield, OH. There in the middle of the farm fields a screen writer, Louis Bromfield, would stop tapping on his typewriter to move the mouths of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall and pull himself up on a tractor. He had a hobby farm in a large way and would allow the Hollywood elite to come home with him as long as they would pick up a hoe during the day or sell vegetables at the stand at the end of the lane. (photo by Tom Batchelder)
But what I love about him most is that along with his stack of screen writes on his desk, he unrolled charts of crop rotations. He studied his small plot of earth, was highly concerned with soil depletion and even when it wasn’t popular, learned the art of letting the earth lay fallow.
Check out this newsreel from the 40’s of Louis’ farm:
And this is the gift of Sabbath.
When our little section of earth lies fallow, we soak, rebuild, renourish, regenerate what has been lost.
We must die in order to Live.
And what is it that the Wise One says: There is a time for everything under heaven…a time to plant, and a time to uproot…a time to speak and a time to be silent. (Ecclesiastes 3)
And in that fallow, replenished ground, the dying seed can be planted in the dark soft turned-over loam and bloom a hundred fold.
And this is my prayer for you today, my friend. For fallow ground.
Lord of the Harvest,
we pray for a rhythm of rest,
a stilling of the reaching hand,
a setting down of our clumsy burdens.
And for the comment section: What does becoming fallow ground mean for you today?