I have just finished a wonderful book! You may remember earlier this month an entry of mine entitled Slow Down and Listen. In response to that entry, my friend Neil recommended a book called The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath. Slowing down is something very foreign to our Northern Virginia/ middle class mentality and this book addresses the toll our busyness takes on us...the consequences of living our lives on a "hamster wheel." The author, Mark Buchanan, maintains that we have lost "the rest of God--the rest God bestows and, with it, that part of Himself we can know only through stillness." The book invites us to look at the meaning of Sabbath; both as a particular day and, perhaps more importantly, as an attitude.
When I initially began reading the book, I was distracted by the writing style of the author. His language is poetic...often whimsical...sometimes almost musical. I found that, as I relaxed into his style and quit trying to read it as a "textbook" (I am forever the student!) I found it inexpressibly beautiful. This book spoke to me, not at an intellectual level, but to my soul...to my heart, not my head. It will be a book I read again and again to mine for more treasures. Here is one of my favorite paragraphs from the book:
Sabbath (or the rest of God) is the stranger you've always known. It's the place of homecoming you've rarely or never visited, but which you've been missing forever. You recognize it the moment you set eyes on it. It's the gift that surprises you, not by its novelty, but by it familiarity. It's the song you never sang but, hearing it now, know inside out, its words and melody, its harmonies, its rhythm, the way the tune quickens just before the chorus bursts. It's been asleep in you all this time, waiting for the right kiss to wake it.
Life is meant to be much different---fuller, richer, deeper, slower---from what it is.
You know this. You've always known it. You've just been missing it your whole life.
One of the many things I liked about the book was that each chapter was followed by a suggestion of something we could do to make the concepts he had discussed practical in our own lives. As he says in his introduction, these suggestions are "...a way to set what we know in motion...to render thinking into doing." I tend to devour books that I am enjoying; showing very little constraint about how quickly I blow through it. I'm sure that I miss some things that way. At Neil's suggestion, I purposely read this book slowly and tried to digest the contents before I moved on to the next chapter. If you decide to read this book, I would recommend that approach.
I'd love to hear from any of you who read this book...in fact, I would love to gather a group together (for those of you locally) to discuss it. Let me know if you read it and I will organize something!
Thanks for the recommendation, Neil!