I have discovered, however, that there are places in my life that refresh my spirit and my body, providing a Sabbath experience for me.
Three of them, all very different, have restored and revived me repeatedly.
Ride a Horse.
I can’t remember when I didn’t love horses. My early birthday gifts were usually coupons to ride at Glen Lakes Stables. My first horse was Diane, a feisty palomino, followed by Dawn, a crazy horse who could easily have killed me. My college summers were spent teaching riding to 6-12-year-old girls at Merriwood Day Camp. I loved it!
I don’t ride often now, with waning confidence and non-existent gripping muscles to prove it. But gratefully I have occasional opportunities to put my boots on and saddle up.
The moment I settle into the saddle, I’m at peace. Solace. Comfort. Rest.
I realize this is not the experience of most, but for me riding is both exhilarating and reviving. An hour or two on horseback just exploring creation beauty—it’s always beautiful where I ride, it seems—are better than any spa treatment for me.
Riding is Sabbath for me.
Read a Story
I love a good story. I immerse myself in the lives of the characters of any novel I read. When I am weary—or discouraged or burdened—I make a temporary exchange. I trade the exhaustion of my current experience for the adventure of fictional people.
In recent years I have chosen biographies instead, especially the stories of women and men who have surrendered their lives to serve God wherever He sends them. So challenging and uplifting.
I know I can’t employ this kind of escapism to avoid real issues and situations in my life, but I also know that escaping into another story—for a little while—is restorative for me.
Reading is Sabbath for me.
Relax at the Beach.
I love the sound of the waves, long walks along water’s edge, sunshine. Those things in themselves are refreshing.
But what makes my time at the beach truly restful is what I do there. I sleep. I spend lots of time with God—in His Word and on my knees. I listen to what He is saying. We talk and talk as I walk and walk. And I read—once I read seven books, but usually two or three.
Relaxing at the beach is Sabbath for me.
What about you? What places give rest to your life?
c 2011 Judy Douglass