The weather here in Atlanta turned cold the day I got here–the southern sunshine giving a false impression. The natives keep apologizing, taking personal responsibility, apparently, for the cool temperatures.
I’m writing this from a Starbucks just off 14th and Peachtree streets, after having spent the weekend with my friend Jeanine, whom I’ve known since she was born, just four months after I was. The first photo of us together was when she came home from the hospital, and they lay the two of us on the floor and snapped a photo from above us. I look huge compared to her, of course, four months being a significant head start when you’re an infant.
Our families were best friends too–traveling together, spending Friday nights making homemade pizza and watching home movies of aforementioned travels. She’s there, in most of my childhood memories.
We were friends all through high school, went to different midwestern Christian colleges. She eventually moved to Atlanta, I stayed in Chicago. I became a reporter, she went into banking. I had two kids, she and her sweet husband chose not to have kids. She’s still in the corporate world, an HR executive. I’m a mom and freelancer. We don’t see each other often–I was last here to visit her three years ago. But when we talk, the years fold in on themselves and we seem to pick up the conversation where we left off, as if we’d just seen each other yesterday. On Sunday afternoon we sat on the couch, reading, talking, reading, laughing at her cat’s attempts to sit on our laps. The quiet was never awkward, just comfortable.
We had a quiet, restful weekend, just hanging out. We Sabbath-ed together. Which was exactly what I needed–more than I realized it. Sabbath is about rest, but also about relationship–focusing on people instead of tasks.
I’m speaking tonight at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church, on “Living in Sabbath Simplicity.” So I’m thankful that I had a restful Sabbath yesterday. Sabbath is a “palace in time” Rabbi Abraham Heschel famously wrote. I like to think of it as a tabernacle in time. The ancient people of God built a tabernacle to signify God’s presence around them, a place to make sacrifices and for the presence of God to dwell. Sometimes, like this weekend, Sabbath is a gift. Other times one must make some sacrifices to access the gift.
I feel ready to share with the women of Mt. Bethel about Sabbath, because I just experienced a lovely one. In a way, this friendship is a Sabbath friendship–one where I can rest and experience love.
Do you build a tabernacle in time by taking a day to rest? Do you have friends that you feel restful and comfortable with?