Sabbath on the Mountain

We came home from church and I saw him put on his shorts and his old tee with the sleeves cut off, redneck style. 

He warmed mushroom risotto in the microwave leftover from dinner late last week. I pulled out the haricot vert and roasted tomato salad from the plastic container, cold from the fridge. We sat at the bar eating from paper plates.

What was on his plate besides risotto? Those clothes didn’t match the menu. His uniform told me his agenda was set for the day. He was going to work. I was hoping for rest.

I have been practicing Sabbath-- leaning into the holiness of the day, embracing it as grace. Rest is many things. It doesn’t mean napping (though it could.) Sabbath is playing with the grandgirls and a litter of puppies, sitting around a pool with friends, or getting lost in a book. 

The day after God created the heavens and the earth, He blessed the seventh day and rested. He took joy in all that He made. The day was holy. Later, when his finger etched The Law on the stone for Moses, he passed on the blessing, giving us the command to keep the Sabbath, to rest and make it holy.

I haven’t made Sabbath practice a family affair, though I was beginning to see the need to let them in on the gig. It’s no secret that God’s commands are for our good. Keeping the Sabbath is too good to keep to yourself.

So I asked about his plate and he told me he was thinking about washing windows, taking down dirt dobber nests and spider webs, but said he was open to suggestions.

I suggested a ride to the mountain on a beautiful day.

We turned through the hairpin that begins the climb up the mountain that rises stately above the river valley. We parked in the Boy Scout lot near the sign that said “Bear Cave.” Weaving in and around giant boulders, we found some "steps" up to the top. I remembered as I picked my path that going up is easier than coming down. I climbed on. 

On top of the world, we looked out over a canyon filled with hardwoods, a canopy of greens that in just weeks will blaze orange and yellow when the sun slides closer to the horizon. We had been up on those rocks before. It had been a long time---when the kids were young.

The crows cawed deep below us and the buzzards circled high above. The rocks grew lichens, in variants of green, another was brilliant orange. Hidden in a shadow, the sign of the cross caught my eye, brilliant chartreuse. Small trees and bushes clung deep in the crevices. Even rocks sustain life. 

After sunning like a couple of lizards up on the big boulder, we made our way to the shade on a bluff. He thought I was too close to the edge and needed to be careful. I was---so he would feel better about me squirming around up there just inches away from eternity were I to slip. 

We sat and talked, and at times, we just listened to the bugs, and the birds and the airplanes overhead.
Somewhere on the side of the cliff, tucked up under a pine tree clinging for dear life, we remembered to be grateful.

Not that we aren’t, but we remembered what we needed to verbalize what our hearts know, to acknowledge before each other and before the One who created the very place that had become our sanctuary, how very thankful we are for the blessed life we have lived, the one that we are living.

When you are busy, you aren’t grateful. You are rushed and distracted and life happens without acknowledgement. The day ends, and you don’t know that in it were a thousand miracles because you didn’t notice.

And when you rush through life and forget the Sabbath, then holiness disappears with the dobbers nests and the spider webs.

“Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.”

Have you found a way to surrender to the grace of Sabbath rest? Are you, like me, more grateful when you slow down? 

(Just to keep it real, for too long I forgot to "remember the Sabbath... now  I often make Saturday my Sabbath day.)

Want to be reminded and inspired to keep the Sabbath? Join my friend Shelly Miller's Sabbath Society. So thankful the she was inspired to practice Sabbath keeping and is inspiring me to do the same.

Sharing this story with Laura Boggess' Playdates with God


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