I have heard and forgotten a lot of sermons in my life, but one has stuck. It was about the power of the Sabbath in modern times, and how dividing our lives into sevenths was an old but effective strategy for keeping life manageable. The pastor asserted that seven days was essentially the Goldilocks of life rhythms—enough time to fit in competing priorities, but not so much time that procrastination flourishes.
Thinking about the Sabbath as not just a single day for rest but a measurement for balancing life has been especially helpful to me in these early years of motherhood. While a given day may not provide the time I need for a certain priority, each week provides windows of opportunity for the things that matter most. There is time for work and play. Time for family and friends. Time for thinking and action. Time for togetherness and solitude. Time for exercise and, yes, even time for rest. Weekly calibration and accountability help me make sure I’m never too far out of balance in any one area.
Fridays are an important part of my weekly cycle. There are all the obvious reasons to love Fridays—the looming promise of the weekend, the salty popcorn that accompanies movie night, the ability to stay up late because it isn’t essential to set an alarm for the next morning. In addition to all this, Fridays also provide my weekly dose of singing.
Every Friday morning the children at my son’s school meet first thing to raise their voices in song. Parents and siblings sit scattered amongst the children and clustered on the fringes as Mary K strums her guitar or plays the piano.
The songs range from silly (“I like bananas because they have no bones”) to serious (“Question anyone who tells you who you should hate”). There are songs about pizza and songs about making a difference with peace and compassion. There are lyrics that are nonsense and lyrics that capture great truths. The kids sing songs that honor nature and life and the power of intention alongside songs about betting on the ponies.
When the kids sing about a twig on a branch and a branch on a limb and a limb on a tree … I ride a wave of nostalgia back to summers spent singing camp songs of my own. When the kids sing about the power of light in darkness I am filled with hope for the future and comforted by the promise of a new generation. Mostly, when they raise their pitchy little voices I am filled with joy. Hearing a group of children sing with gusto and watching them sway while they claim to be “feelin’ groovy” is just so much fun.
At the end of each Friday Morning Sing session, the kids are sent off to their classes with a few rounds of “Happy Trails.” It is the perfect song to capture the promise of another respite to come. Another time to gather, to rest, to acknowledge truths big (we can make a difference) and small (bananas do not have a skeletal system).
It is the promise to meet again for this Sabbath of sorts.
Photo by Suesan Henderson