Returning to the Valley

A year ago on the 19th of July I wrote a blog post about being “In the Valley of Peace”.  I talked about why it was important to take a Sabbath away from the (at times) soul crushing nature of life and the things it requires of us.  Well, summer semester just tapped out to the three count so I decided it was time to return to the well.

The Sabbath is of course rooted in the laws of the Old Testament and is still deeply rooted in Jewish practices today.  It is a day of rest that is sans work.  It is a beautiful concept that I quietly wish would find its way back into the warp speed propelled rat race of today but I do not think that particular genie is going back into his bottle.  I made the decision this summer that I would take classes over the two months in which I would usually be working as many hours as I could.  Going in I knew that time management was going to be huge and I would need to get my hands around as quickly as possible.  For the most part, it worked.  What I discovered was that I needed to make small Sabbath moments to make up for the lack of having a day off this summer.  Between four days of classes, three days of work and the growing pile of assignments and reading I was coming to understand why summer classes are such a challenge.

It might mean taking a few hours off homework and sitting on your porch sipping on a warm cuppa tea.  It could mean that if class miraculously is cancelled (it was) one day, you take that day as your Sabbath.  You relish the feeling of the couch, the warmth of the Netflix screen and the absolute freedom you have in that moment.  Or you jump on public transportation with your student pass and find your way to the airport to do some quality people watching.  Yes, I did.  It was a unusually rewarding experience.  Your mileage on these will vary.  You will have something that will bring you the necessary joy and energy to face the rest of the week.  Do that.  Take that walk.  Run through some grass in your bare feet.  I did that too.  I recommend it.  Or it may just be picking up that book you wanted to start and spending a day inside the world of Martin, Zahn, Brust or Adams.  You may be saying, “But I could be getting so much work done!”, and I would agree with you.  The only exception I would make here is that if you have fallen so far behind the Coast Guard is now searching for your student body you will have to postpone your Sabbath.  But the key here is get it somehow else.  In the quiet moments in the car, the bus, the train or outside the classroom.  Fight for those moments.  They are important for your heart, your mind and most importantly – your future career.

I have three blessed weeks of Sabbath to soak in.  In the midst of this I’m planning a wedding with my bride to be so my continued focus on finding those moments is key.  I intend to take in a sunrise or two.  A few sunsets.  Lots of cups of tea.  Maybe even a mountain pass.  But lots of breathing of free and worry free air.  In three weeks I’ll be starting my first field experience.  I’ll be shifting in to the education classes.  The big bad world of Teaching will be all that I live and breath for the next two years.  I’m going to need to remember The Sabbath moments and to find the Valley of Peace.

If you need me I’ll be steeping some Earl Grey with two sugars and admiring a lovely Colorado sunset.

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