Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thoughts on Sabbath and a balanced life…

After a month of being unwell, I'm happy to report that I'm feeling more like myself and ready to start the process of catch-up on all the things that didn't get done for the past 30 days.

On Friday, I started taking a large dose of antibiotics that seem to be doing the trick. My lethargy has lifted, my cough has lightened, and my sinuses are indistinguishable from the rest of my face and forehead! I feel health coming on, and it feels so good that I want to celebrate!

But I feel like I've been living in a void for a month… with so little energy that I could only take care of the very basics of cooking, cleaning, laundry, family management and walking the dog. My voice was affected, so coffee with friends or chats by phone were out of the question. Meetings I had scheduled, about what I thought to be very important things, were put on hold once my symptoms included a horrific cough. I hardly had the energy to get up and drive to pick up my poor children, who must have wondered whatever happened to their real mother?

I've been out of the loop, on the back burner, for far too long. And now I don't really know where to start.

In hindsight, I'm thankful for the rest. I've learned that the weight of responsibility I put on myself to do so many trivial things, is really not necessary. The weeds in the garden have waited patiently for me to show up, and so far, I can still see the plants that are intended to be there surviving without my tending. The meals have been more simple, yet still tasty. Nobody has suffered from malnutrition so far. And, in those days of lack of contact with people, I enjoyed the peace and the stillness of my home. Only during the days is this possible, as my family of 5 plus a dog is certainly not peaceful and still when they are all at home doing their thing. And nobody has come down with anything nasty due to dusty furniture, or un-mopped floors. Really, we've survived this time relatively unscathed.

And I truly believe NOTHING is wasted, not even the flu, or a cold, or a virus like I had. Because of it I read more, sat more, thought more. I slept more. And the perspective that only comes with time and space came for me, taking the edge off some crazy things I thought I might do this fall, thought I 'should do' this fall, and bringing me back to the essential, important, and first things first.

Which has reminds me of the concept of Sabbath… (what I know of it, that is)… Sabbath… allowing for space in which rest, and a time of thankful introspection and peace and preparing for what is next, is intentionally placed in one's life on a regular basis. Not in a legalistic sense, as in the biblical command to keep the Sabbath holy, but one of honour and recognition that God has hard wired in a need for rest that we must recognize in order to be fully what he intends us to be.

Did I just taste some of that in my sickness? I remember part of a quote that was left on a chalk board at church, which came to mind as I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. It was something like this,

"If we do not honour the Sabbath in our daily lives, our sickness, our disease, our heart ache will become our Sabbath."

So I have to ask myself, even with my deep desire to lead a simple life, do I really understand what it means to lead a balanced life? Am I practicing Sabbath rest to honour God, and his way of balancing the various components of my life? Does my life show a healthy back and forth between work and play, activity and rest, community and solitude, and other areas?

What about food and fasting? Does my mind ever experience Sabbath rest? My emotions? Am I getting enough sleep? Do my relationships suffer from the lack of balance… and lack of Sabbath rest? Like that commercial for 'Go RVing', am I mistaking the things that keep us connected (cell phone, computer, face-book time), for the things that keep us together in relationships (face-to-face time)?

Was this time of illness a time of reckoning… or recognition that my life is not in balance, and needs to be brought into check before something else happens? Perhaps.

Whether professional, mother, teacher, artist, writer, cab driver, secretary, we all have choices in how we spend our time, what we prioritize, and how we balance our lives. We are responsible for these choices, in how they effect us, and others that we love. Some choices will have lasting impact, others minor inconveniences like colds and the flu.

So what better way to undertake a life choices assessment, than taking time apart… a Sabbath… to consider how well I am doing in this area of balance. And perhaps through making some adjustments, I will begin to live better, and be well inside and out. This lines up perfectly with my start in the Women's Life Balance Program at iQuest, doesn't it? All things considered, it's the right thing to do.

Wellness is something I've missed a lot these past four weeks. And I don't want to intentionally cause sickness to happen again, no matter the lessons learned.

Something to consider as I procrastinate over walking the dog today.


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