Sunday, August 5, 2012


I was suffering from a severe case of missing-the-kids, so I was delighted to find that Eric was free for dinner last night.  Al and I drove to Ann Arbor to meet him and after a delicious Mexican dinner, the three of us stopped by the Wolverine State Brewing Company for a brewski.  If you know me at all, you know that I am much more a wine girl than a beer girl, but I do make exceptions.  Anyway, over beer, our conversations ranged far and wide, but at one point, I told the boys that I really wished that I could set aside one day each weekend to unplug, to refocus and to live slowly-- thinking, reading, writing, maybe doing some photography.  To spend time on the things I love but usually push to the back burner as the demands of our busy lives take precedence.

Nodding, Eric said, “What you want is a Shabbat.”  I looked at him quizzically, and he said, “You know, a Sabbath.”  I actually do know that Shabbat is Hebrew for Sabbath, it just hadn’t occurred to me that I wanted one.

It seems like such an archaic idea.  Even quaint.  It has been a long time since we, as a society, have recognized a Sabbath as a significant part of our culture.  I am old enough to remember when most stores were closed on Sunday,  and a few, on Saturday, in recognition of the Christian and Jewish Sabbaths. Today, we can get pretty much any thing at pretty much any time; we have created a culture of convenience. Our  24/7 mentality  gives us very little downtime.

I don’t know about you, but I crave downtime once in a while.  Not so much blob-on-the-couch downtime, but high quality downtime, time apart from my day-to-day distractions and demands, time when I can take a deep breath and just think.  Time when I can hold an idea in my head for more than a few seconds, long enough to see it from different perspectives and let it develop and grow. 

A few weeks ago I declared my first and so far, only, “No-Surf Sunday;” I did not check email, Facebook, or any other internet site from 9 am until 9 pm.   I managed to stay away from the computer that one day, but not again since.  Not even today as I write about the need to stay away.

I think Eric is right.  I need a Shabbat.

Al has a different take on this.  He thinks I need “Funday Sunday” where I get to define fun anyway I want.  Of course, he knows that I am likely to define it in terms of doing the things I don’t normally make time for- reading, writing, photography, and so on. 

Whatever you want to call it, I took today as sort of a trial run. Among other things, I did some reading, wrote this blog, explored the difference between satisfaction and complacency, listened to Sidney Bechet, made focaccia bread and cherry crisp, walked the dog, and resisted the urge to run errands or go shopping.

(I am definitely not a recreational shopper, but I do have a weakness for office and school supplies.  I keep hinking my Sunday experiment would be improved with new notebooks and  pens.  After all, maybe  new thoughts would flow better through new pens into unsullied notebooks.   And maybe I need one of those lap desks so I can record my thoughts in comfort wherever I happen to be sitting. 

Ok. Maybe not.)

Shabbat or Funday Sunday, I think Eric and Al may be saying the same thing.  Either way, I think I have been given explicit permission to claim Sundays as my own.  For this, I am grateful.  Just for the record, I plan to take full advantage of it!

I mainly resisted the lures of the internet, but not entirely.  I dropped in on Facebook briefly and came upon a post about the horrible mass killing in Wisconsin, the second in as many weeks.  I don’t understand this violence.  I just don’t understand.

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