It’s only been a week and a half into medical school. I already feel out of shape, out of sleep, and out of energy. Yes, it’s true, the only kind of change I truly enjoy is the sort that rattles around in my pockets. But that’s the short-term talking. When I take a step back from the pixelation of long study hours, empty coffee mugs, and questionable bouts of motivation, the bigger picture allows me to press on. And yet, removal from the urgency of the moment—fluttering up far enough for an aerial view—takes time. Specifically, time off. I’m not a robot. I’m not a Cullen. I get tired and my eyes glaze over. I get moody and eat too much chocolate. I coop myself up inside and hold grudges when the sun shines too cheerily. I, like every other human being alive, have tipping points and require breaks.
Considering Sabbath through the lens of a student, I liken time away from the books to the process of exercise. Maybe it’s my soul’s deep-seeded ploy to trick my body into athleticism (so far, no luck). But maybe it’s just a little bit more. Physically speaking, there are limits to how much stress the body can handle before it breaks down and risks injury. Too much work in too little time can be a recipe for disaster. Yes, the body must be broken in order to be built back up, but it is a process of micro-tears. It is not a battering, or pummeling, or a high-speed ramming into a brick wall. I realize as well as anyone that doing too little too slowly is a laughable stab at progress. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. That doesn’t mean Rome wasn’t built. Or that it wasn’t magnificent, powerful, and demanding of respect.
I think God invented dusk to help us find the beauty of rest; the twilight of Sabbath. He took day and night and warmth fading into cool, wrapped them up in early moonglow and cricket chirps, then tucked it all between the edges of the day. He intentionally put a pause button on the remote of transition. He knows exactly what we need and supplies it all with the contingency of choice.
I’m not Seventh-day Adventist and I don’t have a 24 hour time slot reserved as Sabbath. But I think my personal celebration is umbrellaed under the same context of a dedicated day to rest and reflection. Jesus is my Sabbath. Jesus is where I rest. Sabbath, for me, is a place that lives outside of time. It is my freedom from the Law, my release from bogs of routine, my heart being held in the hands that wove the world. There is beauty in the resting; light in the dimming of Earth’s tangles. And so, this is my toast to not worrying about tomorrow—it frets enough when left to its own devices. Here’s to slowing down, to looking up, and to letting God take care of the rest.