Daily Archives: December 13, 2009

Sabbath

This week has been excruciatingly busy.  The last seven days, I have experienced exhaustion at levels I never thought I’d reach.  I know what many of you are thinking right now: “I hear that all the time from people.  Stop tooting your own horn about how important you are!”

Hold your judgment for the time being.  I have a point to all this, and it might surprise you.  Let me get through the details of the week first.

Last week, the seniors in my research class turned in their research papers.  Since the grading term ended on Tuesday, I had to have them graded by then…all 60 of them.  This was no small task, for it took me around 25 minutes to grade one of them.  Though there were a few good papers here and there, the papers were of such low quality that I felt I needed to be as detailed in my critique as I could.  Plus, many of them were on issues of great importance–abortion, religion and warfare, same-sex marriage–so I needed to carefully walk them through the subjects with clear thinking.  I was as disappointed in the papers from the conservative students (pro-life, against same-sex marriage, etc) as I was in the papers from more secular students, simply because the reasoning wasn’t there.  There was a whole lotta assertions from both types of students, a whole lotta dismissal of counter arguments by both sides, and a whole lotta cherry picking evidence to suit their conclusions, but there was almost zilch in terms of actual research, rigorous analysis of hard data and evidence, and charitable treatment of opponents.  Needless to say, it took a tremendous amount of time to wade through all the bunk.  On top of all that, I had to deal with one possible plagiarism case (turned out, after a few hours of examination, that it was a false alarm).  The ultimate downer was that when I went to print the file that contained my comments (I typed out notes of commentary for each student), Microsoft Word said the file was corrupt, and I could not access it….so the students did not get the benefit of the critique I spent all that time forming.

All this led to one all nighter, plus two 2am bed times and a 4:45 wake-up alarm for the whole week.  To top all that off, I had a coaches meeting on Monday night, a wrestling fundraiser Tuesday night, a wrestling meet Thursday night, a wrestling tournament all day Saturday, and a paper and final due during the week for a Theology class I’m taking.  The earliest I arrived home all week was last night at 10.  I actually fell asleep hugging my wife.

Today, though, has been glorious.  I woke up at noon.  After lounging around for who knows how long, my wife and I went to a movie.  Then we came back and lounged some more.  I took a nap.  Watched TV…I was just flat out lazy today.  Though I have a mountain of work awaiting me, I didn’t feel a bit guilty about it at all.

What’s my point in giving the details of this week?  Other than to give an accounting of why I’ve been strangely absent from the blogosphere the last seven days, it’s to make a point about the wisdom of God’s commands.

Embedded in the Ten Commandments is one commandment that we Americans tend to forget often: the command to rest one day a week.  Many of us–Christians included–regard that command as a holdover from a bygone era.  Even if we don’t explicitly say it, many of us subconsciously think that way.  This is the 21st century after all, not ancient Israel; we’re not desert nomads herding sheep, and there are only two ways to get ahead in today’s complicated world: cheat or work your fingers to the bone….that’s the common way of thinking, at least.

We miss the fact, though, that God is the designer of both the universe in general and the human makeup in particular.  There’s a plethora of reasons behind His commandments.  They are not arbitrary or killjoy rules.  Behind every single one–even the ones we dismiss with a handwave–is a wealth of wisdom about how the world actually works.

Sunday is my sabbath day.  I do absolutely no work whatsoever.  I sleep in till whenever (my wife and I usually attend church on Saturdays).  I spend time with God.  I read.  I veg out.  This practice has been one of the key elements keeping me sane both this week and over the past few months.  You’d figure that by taking one day totally off, that work would pile up…well, it does.  Mondays aren’t pretty.  The thing is that by recharging on Sundays and not even cutting corners on that day a bit (I don’t even think about grading or planning or anything of the sort), I have the mental juice to tackle what looks to be an overwhelming load each week.

Well, sadly, Sunday is over…time to gird up my loins and run headlong into another monstrous Monday.