A day of rest, part one


I have a complicated relationship with weekends. My wife works in retail and works most Saturdays and often Sundays too. On Saturdays I usually work on creative projects like OCSPLORA, but Sunday is my chosen day of rest, my weekly sabbatical, the day I don’t check email or even open the laptop if I can help it.

A sabbath is a very difficult thing to keep in our modern western society. There’s always something that needs doing and always more to do than time to do it. But it is oh so worth it.

Some of the best Sundays I ever knew were from April to June of 2007 in a little town called Oxford on the south island of New Zealand. We were part of a school there, Wendy and I, and we lived in a five bedroom, two bathroom house with seventeen other people.

On Sunday mornings I would get up early, but not as early as on the weekdays, take a shower, eat breakfast. Then we would walk about thirty steps to the little Anglican church next door and worship with the local Anglican population, all twenty or thirty of them.

Sidenote: If you ever get the chance to go to a little Anglican church in a small country town in New Zealand, you really should do it. If you don’t know what to do or when to stand up or any of that, like we didn’t, don’t worry. They will just be glad you came and treat you like a celebrity.

Everyone who lived in the house with us went to church, but they all went to the Baptist church up the street, which had two services on Sunday morning. Most days, our housemates would all be leaving for the second service at the same time we were getting back from our service, which left us the entire house, empty and quiet and peaceful.

My routine for the rest of the morning was really beautiful, like a work of art, like a perfect musical composition. I would grab a stack of books I was reading, set a pot of water to boil, and check whether anyone had gotten a fire going in the wood stove. I would stoke it up, or get it started, make my cup of tea or hot chocolate and sit by the fire with my feet propped up and read for an hour and a half or so, until everyone else came back. I would try to keep reading straight through to lunch time, but I would usually end up in a conversation with whoever sat down in the circle of chairs around the fire.

After lunch the whole group of us would watch a movie on the projector, or maybe some of us would go for a walk or run or bike ride. Sometimes we would get invited to dinner by one of the families we knew in town. Otherwise we would eat leftovers and sandwiches. After dinner we might play a game of Settlers of Catan or just sit around and talk until we got tired. Then off to bed to start a new week.

Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

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A day of rest, part one

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