On solitude

Burning candles

both ends churning

trying to find solstice in the center of the chaos

but it seldom comes

I’m learning, though, to find the ancient rhythms of sabbath. Shabbat, as it’s called in the Jewish tradition.


Mine, newly created, profoundly instigated, starts Friday eve and lasts through Monday morning.

My Shabbat.

I turn off my computer. Turn off connections to the endless rows of virtual tasks and thin air duties to focus on the real.

The here.

And the now.

After fighting with myself to turn it on turn it off turn it on turn it off again, the urge to overextend melts away from the roar of the rows, germinating into the realization of the singleness of a flower or a field of honey.

I can see once again the flecks of gold in the eyes of my three sons.

The momentary fragrance of fresh-cut peonies.

The flit of a hummingbird past my kitchen window.

When you’re hurt and broken, trying to keep up with the masses as they march along single file heads down in their proud undignified stance puts you last in line every time.

Looking up.




I can see My Master.

My Maker.

And He wants more for me.

More from me.


Not as a soldier, hand pressed hard into my brow.

But as a listener.


At His feet.

In Shabbat.

Funny how He finds me there–or rather, I find Him there–every time.

“I don’t think the way you think.
   The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
         God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
   so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
   and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
   and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
   producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
   not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
   they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

 “So you’ll go out in joy,
   you’ll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
   bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
   exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
   no more thornbushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
   living and lasting evidence of God.”

Isaiah 55: 8-13

“But there is something, in the Jewish Sabbath that is absent from most Christian Sundays: a true cessation from the rhythms of work and world, a time wholly set apart, and, perhaps above all, a sense that the point of Shabbat, the orientation of Shabbat, is toward God.”

~Lauren Winner, Mudhouse Sabbath

Question for you today: where and how–and do–you find Shabbat?

(all photos of fields and flowers in a field near our home; all photos of redwoods taken at Mount Hermon, in California.)

19 thoughts on “On solitude

  1. i love this post. and i need to be more disciplined in the practice of taking my own Shabbat. usually, it comes when i’m sitting on my little love seat by my big front window, watching the birds as they live how their Creator made them to live. without worry. without burden. i take a lesson from them quite often.

    come over to my place and link up for a freebie!!

  2. He is calling SO MANY of us to this just recently. I just posted about it yesterday. It makes me wonder what He knows must be coming for us – or if He is just lavishing His rest on us, asking us to receive, because He is that way…

  3. I am struck by this post at how much I don’t stop and find Shabbat. I’m afraid one day I’ll look up from the computer screen and…

    I needed this. My soul needed this. Thank you.

  4. Enjoyed your photos and thoughts! Lovely Post.
    Shutting down the computer would be difficult for me thought! I walk daily with the Lord but a day of peace and quiet I should do more often!

  5. Ooh–I admire you for the courage to turn it off for the whole weekend. I cut back in Lent and haven’t picked it back up, and have been better for it…but I haven’t gone completely cold turkey on the weekend.

  6. I wish my wife and I could find this kind of reflective rest, both individually and as a couple. It’s been so far away from us for so long.

  7. There’s a definite sense of people shifting toward this, born of a need for some rest from the constant blog-following, tweeting, status updating.

    I turn off on Fridays and return at the end of weekend.

    I also strip my sidebar down almost all the way, so my blog is quieter, less noisy for those browsing on weekends.

  8. My husband and I have just in the last few months started observing Sabbath, sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, but so far I have not shut the computer down completely. Now I believe I should do this also. And get outside into God’s beautiful world. I can do this with His help. You are inspiration. Thank you.

  9. My entire blog is devoted to this topic! I’ve been on this Sabbath journey now for 8 years. I often fail, but I can’t stop. May you find continued blessings, however you and God choose to work out this gift.

  10. When I was growing up, the only thing happening on a weekend was church on Sunday and dinner at Grandma’s house. All retail business closed by noon on Saturday. Gas stations, banks, grocery stores, everything……closed. No one worked on Saturday or Sunday and it gave families time to be together, share and reflect, not only with each other, but with God.
    I often wonder, if going back to this basic time, would solve the many problems of today’s child. And give us, as Amy said, the opportunity to notice the “flecks of gold” in the eyes of our children.

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