Friday, January 30, 2009

January gardening

It is such a pleasure to be at my folk's home. I am in Snohomish, WA for my holiday. Dad and I were out in the garden yesterday harvesting leeks. Mom made potato and leek soup! Delicious. The cool damp air, clotting mud and awkward heavy winter work clothes: all a welcome change for me. I think it is a great blessing being in touch with these gentle rhythms of nature: a winter harvest and slow cooked food. Also having time with my parents. Not many people my age can return to the house where they were raised and spend lazy weeks with parents!

Rest and sabbath time are essential parts of the spiritual life. Many think they are luxuries; others long for it but cannot squeeze the time from work schedules. But whenever it is possible I encourage the brothers to keep their free/sabbath day sacred and not to fritter it away with things that can easily be scheduled for another day. We all need time to do the things we love to do, from sleeping in to digging leeks, walking along the river, reading a novel. It is not selfish. It is spiritual health: ask any artist, their most creative ideas come when they are messing around. The same is true with the spiritual life: our greatest connection with God often comes when we are most at ease with ourselves and feel connected to the earth and the people around us.

My vacation is a whopping three plus weeks of down time (except for a few speaking engagements: the local youth group, third order fellowship and a friendly group at St. Mark's Cathedral last week). But speaking engagements are no burden. I "forgot" to take a holiday last year, all the travel distracted me, and I can really feel it now.

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