Sunday, November 27th, the first day of the season of Advent, BEGINS the new Christian year. So, if Advent begins a new year, it might be worth pausing for a moment to consider the a different way of living in time. How might our world be different if we lived in sacred rhythm? What if we opened and closed our days in prayer?Truly took a Sabbath? Avoided getting swept into holiday frenzy by living Advent? I believe that it would open us up to once again hear the truly good news of Christmas.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Sabbatical is almost at its end. We are bursting with thanksgiving and appreciation for all of you who prayed and loved and supported and journeyed with us!!!!! We can’t put into words what an amazing, life-giving adventure this has been. But we did try to put a few words to the questions you sent us. Here they are:
[Also, please know you are invited to come to a lunch following the 11:00 worship service at Ascension Lutheran Church THIS Sunday, August 2. The lunch will be in Pedersen Hall and we will be sharing some reflections from the sabbatical journey. Tim will be preaching the next two weekends at Ascension. Chamie resumes her preaching/retreat schedule on August 9.]
1. [How did you answer] Jude's question about how water stays in lakes?
My quick take on this was that while water does evaporate from lakes and oceans there is so much water in them that it takes a lot of time to do so. And that they get filled back up with rain and rivers before all the water disappears. I think it was after that that Aidan and Jude started singing the “evaporation, condensation, precipitation” song that they learned while studying rain one day in mommy school. I’ve discovered that so much of parenting consists of staying one step ahead of your children so they don’t think you are completely ignorant. I’m sure we will have to think of a different strategy when they become teen-agers.
2. I want to know about your sabbatical rhythm (work-rest-play-pray-study). What did it look like specifically? How well did you keep to this throughout the sabbatical? I mean, was it as regimented as "when the noon bell tolls, we celebrate midday mass," (kind of monk-like), or was it more fluid than that?
Our rhythm was not regimented, like stopping everything at noon for prayer. Admittedly there were days that felt chaotic - traveling with its time changes and long hours on a plain or in a car, is sometimes especially unfavorable to establishing a rhythm - but having the goal of daily worship, study, work, rest and play kept us more accountable living that life. So I guess we would say our days were more like different songs, but the same artist and the same instruments. In other words, different days brought different songs, but our days always included resting and re-creating… we emphasized, for instance, the importance of a good night’s sleep and I think that in itself helped keep us all healthy. We also rested/recreated through some sort of daily physical activity, be it running, swimming, biking (our bikes went with us everywhere minus Europe). We made it a point just to free-play everyday – which was sometimes a game of tag at a rest stop or a game of Uno on the train. We had to “work” in the sense of tending to our daily needs and schedule-keeping. We (as in Tim & Chamie) also read books every day as a part of our study. The most “set rhythm” was lighting the prayer candle nearly every night and there was no place that candle did not go!
3.What is one thing that you wish you had taken with you... and one thing that you wish you had left behind?
We can’t think of one extra material-thing we would have taken with us (but a nanny would have been nice for a free evening)… but we realize we could have left behind more clothes. We could have traveled with 3 outfits instead of 4! We traveled VERY LIGHTLY. We absolutely loved the SIMPLICITY of it and NOT once did the children whine for their toys or say that they did not have enough. It was beautiful. We found this lightness so inspiring that this week at home, we spent three days cleaning closets and the garage and giving away boxes and bag loads of toys, clothes, and random stuff. It felt great and our prayer and hope is to continue to travel more lightly and gently and simply in this world.
4.Based on your sabbatical experiences, what specific changes do you plan to make in your family life?
It is hard to summarize in words, for the experience itself has led us all to view the world in a different way... it is not so much what changes we will make, but that we have already become different people. We plan on adopting some "fun" rhythms to help us remember through ritual and remember that rhythms are truly important... so every Wednesday, we're doing "Taize-breakfast" - baguettes with chocolate butter knives (our table is open, so come join us)! We also plan on being very intentional about adopting monastic rhythms... practicing "family monasticism" (and we invite others to join us in this venture, too, through Raising Micah... you can learn more in the weeks to come)... and one of the things we will do each week is to have a "family meeting" like the brothers/sisters before us... a meeting in which we will set our weekly rhythm. We've already begun the process of letting go of a lot of "stuff" and plan on living with less in our closets. We are also expanding our garden and the ways we eat in rhythm (we're already "community-gardening" in our backyard with the Woodward's).