Serious Goofing Off

Dear Will:

The new year brings with it a new routine for my Sundays. Because our ward shares its smallish building with another, we must alternate between the 9 a.m. to noon schedule and the 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. This year it’s our turn to congregate in the afternoon, and frankly I don’t like it.

I like having church in the morning. By noon, I can slip into some sweats and loll about with the kids or visit family in a nearby town. Having to postpone our meetings until after lunch just seems to throw of the rhythm of the day for me.

Still, I must admit that there is something to be said for having the morning off. This morning I didn’t flop out of bed until 7:30—decadent self-indulgence given my usual 5:30 a.m. alarm setting. After showering I came downstairs and discovered Bryn (she’s my nine-year-old) giving Seth (who’s 4) a piano lesson. It wasn’t going well, frankly, but the scene was charming nonetheless. After spending a few minutes with the morning paper, I threw some food in the crockpot (pork, sweet potatoes, and onions—yum) and then set to work on the French toast with homemade apple syrup. We didn’t eat breakfast until after 9 a.m., but the pace was marvelously unhurried. Around here, that’s a rare thing indeed.

After breakfast, I played Monopoly with Luke while his siblings cheered us on (my three houses on Boardwalk did him in) and then watched as the youngest two skipped out the door to take Barnum (the monster dog) for a walk. About that time I could hear my wife stirring upstairs. She has been fighting a bronchial infection but is always so crazy busy that she doesn’t get nearly enough rest. So it was that, guilt-free (well, almost) she slept and slept and slept. It was what she needed most, I’m sure.

And so I sit down to tap out this letter to you, reminded that it was a long, long time ago that God gave Moses (and the rest of us) this excellent counsel:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)

Isn’t it great that God not only gave us permission, but a commandment, to take a day off to veg out and spend unhurried, unharried time with family? I don’t think I could get through my week without it. It provides therapy for both the body and the spirit. I highly recommend it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some serious goofing off to do.


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