Leisure and Pleasure

Saturday is supposed to be a day of leisure. The Sabbath, the seventh day, the day on which God rested.

My mother told me that when she was a little girl, it was Sunday that was the day of rest. For her, Sunday was the most boring day of all. Playing with paperdolls was about the only thing she could do on Sundays, while the grown ups sat around and talked. The grownups she knew worked on Saturdays. They liked to sit in the rocking chairs on the porch and drink lemonade or tea and talk. There does seem to have been some issue about which day is the first day of the week and which is the last, which day is the Sabbath. I always suspected it had something to do with differentiating Christian from Jewish practices, which I always thought was silly.

For most folks, Saturday is a really busy day. A day of errand running, yard mowing, house cleaning, laundry, shopping - a day to do the things one can't do on "work" days.

For some it's a play day. Ball games, parties and dances, movies. The park, the pool, the golf course, the tennis court, the gym.

There are many ways to look at leisure. For some folks, getting chores out of the way provides a space for upcoming leisure. It's a change of pace. For some folks, playing hard is relaxing and fun. Going to the farmer's market on Saturday is an opportunity to browse through sights and smells and imagine culinary creations and pleasure - much more of a leisure activity than cleaning grout. Although perhaps there are people for whom grout cleaning gives pleasure.

Leisure and pleasure, of course, are not necessarily the same thing. Witness my mother's experience of Sundays in which she had plenty of leisure and very little pleasure. But given that when God was creating and then resting, God was taking pleasure in creation, I think there ought to be a connection. God said it was all good, very good. Which reminds me of how Alanis Morissette played God in the movie Dogma - upon visiting Earth, God took some time out from the business at hand to touch and smell the flowers and smile and do a few handstands in the grass. It is good, very good.

And is that rest? Well, there are lots of ways to rest, too. Rest can be boring or a time of restoration that will lead to rejuvenation. Sometimes one needs to just swing in the hammock and do nothing. On the seventh day, then, did God just swing in the hammock and pronounce that good? Who knows? Why not? But I do hope there's some sense of pleasure in rest as well. If it's just about giving in to exhaustion, well - I'm pretty sure that wasn't what God was doing. (OK, like I really know...) But I do think that if one is exhausted a lot, there's some self-examination that ought to be in one's near future. Of course, sometimes it can't be helped, but I can't help but think that chronic exhaustion is not what God intended for us.

Rest, play, leisure, pleasure, rejuvenation, restoration, quiet time, breath-catching time, imagining and creative time. Take your time. It's all good.

Happy Saturday.