By Renea Winchester
I’ve found that one of the more difficult tasks I face is following all Ten Commandments. Oh sure, I get the thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not kill part. I have no trouble with that, but when it comes to the commandment of keeping the Sabbath day holy…well, that’s a bit more complicated.
My friend Billy, who is the main character in my forthcoming book, In The Garden With Billy: Lessons about Life, Love and Tomatoes, has no problem keeping the Sabbath day holy. He just says no. Though his field is bulging with ripe vegetables, he does not harvest on Sunday. Even though I worry the crops will ruin, he lopes along unconcerned. “They’ll keep,” he tells me. He doesn’t sell goats, eggs, or vegetables on God’s day. Instead, Sunday is the time to go to church, visit the elderly, and rest!
Billy recalls a time when there were no stores open on Sunday. I too remember when stores were closed, or at least opened at 1 pm. Do you remember how peaceful Sundays were? Can you remember a time when roads weren’t packed with cars, when the sounds of birds singing rose above road noise? Now, it seems that Sunday is just another ordinary day.
Following his lead, I vowed to keep the Sabbath holy. Oh sure, I thought it would be easy. I went to church like I always do, but when I returned there were so many things that were waiting for me. The laundry was piled high; I hadn’t vacuumed all week. And, of course, Sunday would be the precise time when the idea erupted for my next novel. Let me be honest here, I was about to come out of my skin! My brain was in full panic mode. Suddenly, after a week of not having time to do any of the aforementioned tasks, I now had the time, energy, and desire. The only problem was Sunday was the day I had promised to rest.
I mean, if God needed rest, don’t we also?
Slowly, and I do mean with excruciating slowness, I have trained myself to honor the Sabbath. Now instead of noticing everything I could be doing, I use Sunday to write letters to friends. I visit folk. I spend quality time with family. I get out of the house. I’ve even had time to read a book! I’ve had to re-train myself how to obey this important commandment, and during this Lenten season, I’m more committed than ever.