Archive for the ‘Sabbath / Sacred Pauses’ Category


written by: Kathy Landis

Four weeks can go by quickly. It has been four weeks since I have returned from my sabbatical, and in four weeks I will be back up in Minnesota getting ready for the first group of the season.

Sabbaticals provide ample opportunities to learn as they create unexpected shifts in various aspects of one’s life. They foster a broader perspective of the ministry and the context of its work. It can provide a new daily rhythm. For me it has also given me a window into what re-entry into the “real world” might look like to paddlers once they get off the water.

In some ways, sabbaticals are an extended Sabbath. Though one has responsibilities during a sabbatical, it is a time of “putting everything in its proper place” as Rabbi S.R. Hirsch has noted about Sabbath. Or as Nan Fink has said, “Shabbat is like nothing else. Time as we know it does not exist, and the worries of the week soon fall away. A feeling of joy appears. The smallest object, a leaf, or a spoon, shimmers in a soft light, and the heart opens. Shabbat is a meditation of unbelievable beauty.”

There were aspects of my sabbatical that I hadn’t anticipated. I paid attention to the Sabbath. I was more intentional about making it a holy day, a day set apart from the others. I didn’t follow any rules, but I did take more walks. I enjoyed the company of friends and family and I stayed away from household tasks. I relished the simple freedom of choosing and celebrating what I chose. I then tried to incorporate that spirit into the other days of the week with small changes such as savoring flavors and eating meals more slowly. Observing the small things was part of the joy. After my sabbatical, I found a quote by Alice Walker who says it well, “Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.”

As I return to Wilderness Wind, I appreciate this newfound love of Sabbath. I look forward to walks in the North woods, diving into good conversations with staff, campers and friends as the white-throated sparrow calls in the background, and having a regular date with the Divine Presence.


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A poem by Wendell Berry from A Timbered Choir.  A sabbath poem.

Raking hay on a rough slope,

when I was about sixteen,

I drove to the ridgetop and saw

in a neighbor’s field on the other side

a pond in a wale, and around it

the whole field filled

with chicory in bloom, blue

as the sky reflected in the pond –

bluer even, and somehow lighter,

though they belonged to gravity.

They were the morning’s

blossoms and would not last.

But I go back now in my mind

to when I drew the long windrow

to the top of the rise, and I see

the blue-flowered field, holding

in its center the sky-reflecting pond.

It seems, as then, another world

in this world, such as a pilgrim

might travel days and years

to find, and find at last

on the morning of his return

by his mere being at home

awake – a moment seen, forever known.

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