New Year, New Blog

Yes, I’m making my big departure from xanga. That makes me a little sad, but I don’t like how only other xanga users can post comments, so it was time to leave. Now all two of my blog readers can comment away.

It’s weird; I rarely get writer’s block, but for some reason, I find a “blank” blog page a little daunting. I’m not making it a new year’s resolution, but I should write more often. So, I think this blog will be a mix of inane observations, things I want to remember about life, and recaps about what I’m learning in what I’m reading.

I guess I’ll start with what I’m reading, and I do have to say that I miss xanga’s little what I’m reading feature right now. Oh well, I’ll give an amazon link instead to The Rest of God. I’m choosing to read this book, first, because I’m supposed to set professional goals at work. This is the second year that reading this book is my goal. The first year, I set the goal since I noticed that I was starting to feel burned out. Then, as the end of the year approached, I realized I hadn’t read the book. To cram a book about rest into the last two weeks of a frantic semester seemed — well, let’s just face it — dumb. So, I failed at the goal and made it a goal for this year.

I’m choosing to read the book second because in the introduction, author Mark Buchanan says that before he learned to observe a Sabbath day, he discovered that he was losing the pleasure he once found in his work, was lacking effectiveness in what he did, and was losing perspective as well. He said he would often find himself “in a masquerade of working” that consisted of seeming busy without making forward progress. His description of “squandering time, not redeeming it” seems fairly apropos of what I feel at times.

And, third, I’ve dabbled around at taking some form of a day off at frequent intervals last semester. I wasn’t all formal about it and didn’t keep an official count of the days that I took off (failing at those professional goals again), but the fact that I’m in a dating relationship just naturally meant that at least once every 7-10 days I wouldn’t be touching any significant school work for the day. And, somehow, in spite of taking off far more weekend days than I normally would, I only missed the final grading deadline for the semester by 20 minutes (which was an improvement). There are other variables involved to be sure, but overall, I felt less stressed and didn’t need a whole week of sleep to recover from the semester, so perhaps there is something to be said for a rest.

I’m still a little skeptical about the book though, mainly because I don’t think that simply not touching school work for a day is Buchanan’s definition of Sabbath. From what I can gather after reading the introduction, Buchanan  literally means “setting apart an entire day, one out of seven, for feasting and resting and worship and play.”  The whole day? Really? Ugh…that seems like a WHOLE day. But, Buchanan recognizes that his audience might feel like this, and when an author can tell me that I might resist his ideas, I’m more likely to give his ideas a shot. I want to see how he defines feasting and rest and worship and play. In other words, what goes into this WHOLE day. I’ll try to post as I discover the answers.