You May Fall Apart

Because I’ve always lived in big cities, scaffolding has been a regular fixture in my life – not only the pipes and decking assembled for new construction work but also the brackets and braces that hold crumbling buildings together during repair.

It’s not just buildings, either. I think that we all have scaffolding in place. Stuff that props us up, tricks that help get us through, temporary remedies to steady the tottering frameworks we have come to mistake for real life.

A Sabbath is a day to take down the scaffolding and to remember what it’s like to be human without all the props.

Depending on who you are and where you are, that will sound like the best idea or the worst idea in the world.

Cease producing?

Lay off the multi-tasking?

Waste time?

What will I do?

Who will I be, if I’m not working (or organizing or producing or fixing or managing or planning)?

If I stop moving, I may totally fall apart!

Despite its ancient roots, Sabbath is still such a culturally weird practice that even folks who have the privilege of having two days off every week may find themselves filling the time with stuff. A friend was recently describing his “weekend”: he went to the gym twice (trying to lose weight), did all his laundry, did his taxes, deep-cleaned the bathroom, painted his study, weeded the garden, washed the dog, planned a friend’s birthday party, and bought plane tickets for his summer vacation. If that’s a weekend off, I can only imagine what his “vacation” will look like!

Look: I’m not saying that his activity, or activity in general, is necessarily unhealthy. It may indeed be a normal weekend for lots of people. But it’s not Sabbath.

So, here’s an invitation:


Really stop. For a day. One day.

Take down the scaffolding and see what happens.

Crumbling may occur. You may even fall apart.

It will be worth it.

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