So, I’m floating a new concept here. New only for me; it’s one that’s occurred to generations, and I’ve just come around to remembering its existence and imagining it applied to our family: I am referring to the concept of a “day of rest.” What would it look like, for our family? We are so scheduled and so busy throughout the week, squeezing every last drop of wonderful living out of our days; but there’s the squeezing of life, drinking every last drop of every day; and there’s the sensation of being squeezed–out of juice. I don’t feel out of juice–yet. But it’s occurred to me that sometimes the pleasure in life does not come from being productive and energetic and squeezing it all in. Sometimes, the pleasure in life comes from resting, from allowing the body and the mind to relax, to take time to breathe, to experience beauty, to have conversations that go nowhere in particular, and to be with family.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with a plan for our “day of rest.” Yes, a plan. How else would it happen? On Sundays, I plan not to schedule writing or exercise, unless it feels like something I really want to do–like it would be a treat and soul-feeding, rather than pure duty. On Sundays, one of the kids will take a turn planning and cooking supper with Kevin (not exactly a day of rest for him, but something different that he enjoys doing). Sunday evening we will have our family meetings, during the meal. And on Sunday mornings, our family is testing out the possibility of returning to regular church-attendance, something that had dropped off the map for us in recent years.
But we’re planning to attend church in a slightly different way. Rather than going back to the neighbourhood church we’d been attending, we will take turns attending my parents’ churches. My parents divorced two years ago, and they each attend a different church now. The churches are of different denominations, and the services will be distinct. Though they are each very different people, I would describe both of my parents as deeply devoted to their churches, and quietly spiritual people. We don’t get the chance to talk about that much in our interactions. I am looking forward to being with each of them in spaces that are sacred and meaningful for them. I would like my children to understand that there is such a thing as a spiritual life, and that many people find comfort and strength and nourishment within the walls of a church. And that there are different ways to feed the spirit.
I am hopeful that by integrating grandparent time with church-going time, our family will be more motivated to attend regularly, and that the church-going experience may even be made more meaningful by sharing it with loved ones.
This is still in its experimental stage. Remember that my word for the year has been “spirit”? I am fascinated by how many different doors that word has opened for me–and for my mind.
What struck me, as I sat in my mother’s church, was how the restless spirit is so much a part of the human experience. Where do we go to find peace? There are so many possibilities.
Last night, I went with friends to a concert in Toronto by Deva Premal & Miten, with Manose. I went with an open mind, and found the evening very moving, as the whole audience sang and chanted together. I believe that there are many different ways to feed the spirit, to seek and to find beauty, and that exploring how other cultures and religions seek and find beauty, and feed the spirit, leads to greater compassion and understanding.