Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Art of Living

Photo: Carleen Schomer, OSB
In his book, Living in the Presence, Tilden Edwards writes: “First of all, we need to assure ourselves a rhythm of Sabbath and ministry in our lives. Without unambiguous times in the week and day when we are free to just appreciate the giftedness of life, to recognize ourselves as intrinsically loved creations of God’s joy, we will likely smother our capacity to simply appreciate life in God as an art and narrow ourselves to life in God as a task.”

When does the normal “weekend” begin and end for you?  Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, as it does for me?  And do you “live for weekends?” And if you do, what about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday? Are those “lost days”… just as we sometimes experience “lost weekends” when we’ve accomplished nothing of what we had planned? Or what is a “mid-end” as one little child tried to use as an excuse for not being in school: “My dad had a mid-end” i.e., a middle of the weekend, equivalent to the normal weekend?

Imagine my surprise when, on a Tuesday – yes, a Tuesday---a few weeks ago, someone wished me a “happy weekend”.  I was stopped in my tracks!  It was only Tuesday, but two days away from my enjoyable weekend, just passed! Has our culture so changed that we scarcely notice week days in our rush to live and long for whatever it is we get out of weekends? Is it “happiness” that we long for and don’t experience on those other five days normally viewed as “work days?”

Change is inevitable. We admit that, but here an entire culture of work/rest seems to have changed, dramatically! Whatever happened to “catch-up” days like Saturday or Sabbath rest, Sunday worship, play, reading, visiting, a special meal or walk, a time to sit and muse, write a letter or poem? We used to go swimming, fishing, catching frogs or playing ball or cards, popping corn, even napping! Change. Cultural shifts. Adaptation. Nostalgia. Someone said, “Nostalgia is a form, of longing.”  Re-read what Tilden Edwards writes; is that what you long for too – life as art as well as task?  What will we do about it?

Renee Domeier, OSB

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