I believe it was Elmer Fudd who coined the phrase “Rest and relaxation at last” (he actually said, “West and wewaxation at wast,” but I felt the need to translate). In several episodes the poor hunter would try to go on vacation only to be terrorized by his nemesis Bugs Bunny, who would ruin his meals, knock him out of his hammock, show up at the same theater, and generally invade his private time. No matter how hard he tried, the lisping hunter had every vacation cut short as he put on the uniform, grabbed his shotgun, and went back to the work of chasing that “wascally wabbit.”
Elmer Fudd had the right idea when he tried to get away. He was attempting to live into the rhythm of life God intended for us all. Reading the Creation Story in Genesis 1:1-2:4 one encounters an unmistakable rhythm built into the cosmos – the patterns of day and night, and the changing of seasons are intentionally created. We read that God worked during the day and rested every evening. We learn that on that seventh day, the sabbath, God took a break from all his work, and commanded us to do the same every week. We are commanded, not told it is a good idea or a powerful suggestion, to follow that rhythm of working at the appointed times and then taking a break, a time of sabbath rest every night and one day a week.
In this second decade of the 21st century that becomes increasingly difficult if we are not intentionally guarding our sabbath. Our ability to stay connected to our work is both a blessing and a curse. Through the miracle of modern technology our jobs can jump out of a rabbit hole and tempt us to get back to work in the blink of an eye – even if it is just taking a few minutes to check emails before going to bed. When we were sold our smartphones, tablets, and laptops with wifi access, we were told that we would now be available anywhere at any time. That seems to have morphed for some into everywhere, all the time (shout out to the Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane”).
Please don’t misunderstand. I thoroughly enjoy my smartphone and will not be trading it in anytime soon – unless a faster model with more memory comes out for about the same price. But if not kept in check, that little computer in my pocket can become quite a heavy burden to lug around if I allow it to interrupt my times of sabbath.
Next week I will be on vacation and like Elmer Fudd, I could easily have it interrupted by my Bugs. Fudd and I both need better boundaries. For example, I learned recently how to stop my phone from automatically downloading my emails. Switching to the manual mode keeps that alert from popping up on my home screen that tells me there is work to be done. I think that’s a start. I’m also taking books I want to read for my personal spiritual development and not ones I need to read for a retreat or a sermon series. I plan on taking a break to be in the moment with those I love.
While I’m away I need to continually remind myself that there will be others to chase the “wascally wabbit” next week. The world, and my work, will go on even if I take some time off.
Ah…west and wewaxation at wast!
Do you have any ideas that might help me “get away” next week?
PS – The blog will continue while I am away next week. I am writing entries before I leave that will automatically post on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. See, I’m not anti-technology.