Did you ever have to learn poetry at school? I did. One of the poems I remember was called Schule in June, by Robert Bain. It’s about having to stay inside when it’s a lovely day. It ends up with this complaint:
…..I ‘ve no objection to lessons,
Whiles – but in June?
This is the time of year when we yearn for a break. The world beyond the window seems to be calling to us, and nature puts on her most alluring display to tempt us outside. Many of us are lucky enough to have holidays in prospect. But for some, holidays are a luxury. At least today’s Friday, so we have the weekend to look forward to. But will it really be a rest for you?
Most of the world’s religions have some version of a Sabbath or rest day. Between them, these religions represent thousands of years of wisdom. They encode those vital messages about life that our ancestors kept for us and thought we should hear. The Sabbath appearing in so many of them, is a message from our ancestors, to remind us how important it is that we rest. But in most of Scotland, life goes on 24/7, and there are so few things you can’t now do on a Sunday, that it can feel like any other day of the week. So how can we keep Sabbath even when we’re busy?
The central idea of sabbath is about stopping. It’s about taking the time, rather than spending it. It’s as though we get extra time, by pausing in our busyness. If you’ve ever taken part in a mindfulness exercise, or found yourself lost in prayer, you’ll have felt this sense of being somehow out of time. And that’s why Sabbath helps to restore a sense of perspective, like seeing fragile planet Earth from the moon for the first time, because it allows us to re-start when we re-enter our world again.
So anything you could do today to stop. To breathe. To pause. Anything that takes you away from your busyness, so that you can see it anew on your return. Anything that smuggles Sabbath into your everyday, would at least make schule in June feel like a foretaste of holidays to come. Have a lovely day.
I have been delivering “Thought For The Day” pieces on BBC Radio Scotland since November 2016. By kind permission these pieces are reproduced in blog posts here on my website. To find my other pieces click here go to my Thought For The Day index page.