In our chaotic culture of greed and speed, we have forgotten some very important things, things many of this up and coming generation never have known; how to slow down and savor and really appreciate something. Anything. How to live in the moment and just be. To sit back, relax, feel satisfied, and say, "I've had enough." What does it feel like to be content? To think deeply? To ponder...to truly find rest for your soul?
Lately I'm pondering the remedy for a people stressed out, adrenal fatigued, sick, medicated and miserable. And really, why? We are blessed with so much. I'm thinking therein lies the problem. We have too much. We are the only country where people actually eat themselves to death, pay extra money to store stuff they can't fit in their already too-big houses and packed garages, and watch shows about Hoarders and people that are so fat they haven't been out of bed or sat on a toilet for a decade. It makes me sad.
I want to savor my life and the people in it. I have been missing out by being so stressed out. I've hoarded things for myself and grieved over the mental space that physical clutter takes up. I've been pondering the art of living well. I want to live and not exist to own things that really own me. I would love to be free of the clutter in my head, my home, and my heart. It would leave so much more room for my Jesus.
There is a tradition all over much of the world that we have replaced with a drive-thru coffee experience in the afternoon. What a rip-off! The English enjoy afternoon Tea, the Germans have a ritual that is referred to as Kaffee und Kuchen, Kaffeetrinken, or Kaffeeklatsch. The Swedes enjoy Fika, India has Chai...what do we have? We do have a coffee house culture that I love but it's just too rare that we actually sit down with friends and family to enjoy a cup of our favorite brew and a bite of something. A good social connection that's face to face. These traditions are not solitary events usually you see. They involve a friend or two, a neighbor, your mom, or who-ever. They also involve a bit of cake, scones, cookies, or even a sandwich- something to eat while you chat.
Composer Johann Sebastian Bach made coffee the main topic of the cantata Be quiet, stop chattering, which became popularly known as the Coffee Cantata. I thought that was a fun bit of trivia, take a peek.
While my older kids were growing up during the school year we had a daily Tea Time. It' was fabulous and I miss it. We read aloud, or listened to audio books, and we chatted over scones and tea or hot cocoa. Bliss.
I'm bringing Tea Time back. My middle son, youngest son, and granddaughter are with me now, the older kids have moved out. I think this ritual is a blessing and pretty often I feel these kids are getting the short end by not having this afternoon delight. I say I'm too busy and I have a hundred other excuses but there's nothing valid. If I did it then I can do it now. I'll put my iPhone down, I'll not check in on my cyber friends on Facebook , and I'll get face to face with my own flesh and blood people who are here and now in my life. Preach it sister! ....slump. It's so hard to actually break out of the habit and bondage but here's what I'm thinking: Shabbat! Take a rest! Refrain!
The Hebrew children have this beautiful command from God and I'm in love with it. A time to rest. To empty my pockets of mammon and rest from commerce and commitments and chaos. To enjoy friends and family and food and our Creator and relax and laugh and live in that moment. Good practice once a week for the daily ritual that I long for. Good stuff. A mini Sabbath rest every afternoon and weekly Sabbath too. God is kind. He knows what's what and He knows we burn out and we get this nasty world all over us. He told us to draw back and rest for a while so that we could think straight. Not stress out and need to be medicated to sleep, medicated to wake, and medicated to work. We medicate with prescriptions and we self medicate and God has had the answer to it all along. Trust. Take a break. Think about His goodness and enjoy what He has given us and share it with those around us.
Quit fretting. No worries.
We will be so much the better for it. Sickness and disease come from not only physical, but also mental, emotional and spiritual toxins. Think how much we could purge from our lives to have less but really more. A better quality of living, relationships, food, experience...you get what I'm saying, right? Please tell me I'm not alone in this. I don't think I am though. I bet if you don't already have it, you want it.
I'm thinking rituals and traditions can be a beautiful thing and I'm going to be purposeful and institute a couple of the really good ones around here. I hope you do too.