In lieu of our normal Wednesday night Bible study, tonight Dixie led us in the first of a two-part workshop on Sabbath (as credit towards one of her classes). She opened the workshop by having us close our eyes and imagining “a day of delight would be like for you.”
Without much hesitation, this is what came to mind: I wake up whenever my body wakes up. I wake up to a house that is quiet, clean, organized, and full of light. I get up and make a hot cup of tea and sit quietly, maybe read a book. It is a cool, sunny day, so later I might go out and meander on a nature trail or in the fields or along some gravel roads.
A good day so far, but I didn’t get much further than that before Dixie added, “there are no restrictions on your day, no financial barriers, nothing…” You might expect the details of my imagined day of delight to change, given unlimited resources. But the truth is, it changed little. Only the location changed. Now it wouldn’t be here, it would be in a small town in England somewhere. But I’d still ease myself into the day with a cup of tea, read a book and go for a walk.
I didn’t have more time to finish my imagined day. I’m not sure what I’d add: a leisurely lunch and/or supper in a cafe or pub somewhere. Maybe a (half?) round of golf. My imagined day of delight assumes some things that would make such a day work–namely, that I would not be anxious, but was in a state of relaxation sufficient to sit still and ponder, to meander rather than power-walk; that I would not be distracted by TV or internet. But that really is my ideal day.
Perhaps you don’t believe it. Perhaps you think that given unlimited resources and no space/time barriers, I would actually imagine a day of adventure or culture or travel. But right now I would not. I think appreciation of simple pleasures–appreciation of quiet moments in a loud and busy day, a well-brewed cup of tea, or some simply culinary delight like a cinnamon bun–can take a person a long way towards contentment. Those kinds of things are attainable even in the most chaotic times of life. Adventure, culture, travel, these are all good, but they are rare treats for the average person–and once they’ve been experienced, they often make “normal life” seem dull or even depressing. But a cup of tea, for example, is something I can appreciate daily, with near-zero expense and only a little effort, and it enhances rather than detracts from “normal life”.