Yesterday I didn’t work. I stayed home with my little guy, learned to make ghee with a chef-friend, went to yoga and picked out bathroom fixtures for my new house.
I embraced the stillness on a Friday afternoon. I breathed in the cold, mint air and didn’t answer work calls. I didn’t engage in the back-and-forth of workplace email very much and I put all my projects and concerns on hold.
Today is much of the same: lazy morning where I couldn’t even bring myself to leave the house for 7:30 tennis. I never can on a Saturday; it just seems to be my day of rest.
Last night, I couldn’t settle into peaceful sleep until Shaya meandered into my room and crawled under the covers beside me. His warmth and the pile of blankets combined to cocoon me into perfect sleep and there I stayed until just before 7 or just after 6:30, something like that, this morning, when the light of dawn began to creep through the bamboo shades and my little boy said, “Mommy, I want you to get up with me.”
And so I did. We settled onto the couch and watched a movie under a blanket and cuddled some more. Later today, we’ll decide on colors and patterns and furniture for the new house, then see a community version of Annie, the play, and tonight, I’ll probably go to a movie with Asher.
I just can’t bring myself to answer the work emails until at least tomorrow. Maybe Monday.
I am having an Israeli weekend – Friday and Saturday devoted to rest and relaxation rather than work. Sunday in Israel is the start of the weekday bustle, traffic intensely back-and-forth-ing to awaken the world.
That flow works for me: Sunday-Thursday going at warp speed so that Friday and Saturday can be a slow unwinding.
In Israel, it’s the simple fact of Friday sundown inaugurating the Jewish Sabbath. For a Jewish nation, the days off would likely be the day when half the nation (or some percentage) takes religious rest. (God I miss Israel – it has been almost 7 years since my last visit – but that’s another blog altogether.)
Here, we weekend on the Christian calendar. It’s fine; it’s what I grew up with. But my body seems to tune into the Israeli approach to work and rest even more.
Last night, three of my four kiddos were in bed at 8 o’clock. After a week of late nights and lots of homework, it was the right solution. By 8:30, they were asleep. The fourth, Asher, was at ski club expanding his own horizons and facing his fears.
It was a good night for all and I did not mind staying up until I could meet the bus and collect my eldest son and see his exhilaration and hear about how he conquered his own hesitation.
He fell into bed. Still sleeping. And the other kids are propped up on one bed, morning white light pouring through windows, enjoying just being together.
Today, our lifestyle just doesn’t allow enough time to Be. We run too much, whether it’s to school or work or home to finish up what we couldn’t complete there. A significant lack of balance pervades our lives.
It must stop. We must institute a culture of balance, even if we get pushback from the majority, even if the institutions around us refuse to support a healthier approach to life.
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony,” said the faithful writer Thomas Merton.
So true. When we have equal measures of hot and cold, fresh air and manufactured, inside and outside, angst turned into love, only then can we be the person we are meant to be, live a life worth living.
A life worth living. Perhaps the single most important pursuit any of us can embrace.