(at the Jersey Shore)
Sometimes it seems like God is so very far away. We wake up in the morning, go through the day and wonder what happened to the time; life just eats us up in the daily grind. It’s easy with the “speed” of life to feel like a feather in the wind; we end up wherever life takes us, but we don’t know how we got there!
At these times, it’s easy to feel like we have little control over our own lives, and people may find themselves in the throes of despair when life doesn’t go smoothly. We may cry out to God for comfort, but God seems distant. Nothing seems to help. What do we do?
Before Jesus started his ministry, he removed himself from the whirlwind of daily life, seeking the silence and solitude of the desert. It is in the silence that we too can find that God is never more than a whisper away. Here, “outside” of the world, we can gain a sense of perspective. Here we experience God as real and the world as nothing more than an illusion. The life in which we find ourselves is nothing more than a freely chosen, self-constructed “reality.”
When God finished creating the universe a day was set aside to rest, to gain perspective. God instructed us to keep this law of rest and to set aside a day each week to remove ourselves from the busy life in which we are often caught up.
However, in American society we have lost sight of this time we set aside for respite. We think it is wasteful to not make the most out of every hour we are given. We fill up all of our time with the “noise” of life -- work, school, TV, computers, cell phones, etc. We fill up our days and soon wonder how we’ve lost control over our lives. We have made no time to center ourselves, to center our families and to place God at our center as well. We have no time for introspection and perspective -- no Sabbath!
The summer for most of us, marks a transition into the “Sabbath” of the year. The school year ends, giving our children time to step outside the world’s expectations of them so that they may be children. It is also a time for vacation - for a family to set aside a couple of weeks to be with one another outside the hustle and bustle of the work week, as well as the activities that fill up our already busy lives. It’s a chance for us to reconnect with our spouse outside of the world’s priorities which often distance us -- a time to fall (further) in love all over again. And summer can certainly be a time where one finds silence to make room for oneself and for God.
In Greek, the word kenosis means “to empty oneself.” When the world seems overwhelming, we can easily become mentally and emotionally filled up. We quickly lose control over our lives, especially and most devastatingly in our personal relationships. When we find ourselves blindly careening down the highways of our lives, it becomes hard to put on the brakes. Remember, objects in mirror may be larger than they appear, and the same applies to the problems in our lives. It is at these hectic points that we must stop and get off the road, before our worries overtake us.
As Americans we are given so much opportunity, and many of us have been blessed with so much. Because of this, it’s easy to let the “stuff” take over. So as we enjoy this summer, let’s make the most of it by making an effort to put the brakes on our lives and just sit back and gain perspective. May this summer also be a sacred time, a time of emptying oneself, a time for reconnecting to those we love and a time for reconnecting with our true self and with God.
So this summer take it easy! Remove yourself from the world when need be and remember to keep Holy the Sabbath.
May you have a great and blessed summer!
Your faithful servant,
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