Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Monday, November 01, 2004

An Educational Sabbath Experience

When life gets busy, it's easy to find that one's "ox is in the mire" when it comes to keeping the Sabbath day holy. But many times, the ox is actually fine and all we've done is splash a little mud around through our careless meandering. I had an instructive experience yesterday and today that reminded me to think about the Sabbath more carefully.

As the weekend approached, I found myself with a big work-related task before that could easily eat up the whole weekend. I needed to help get a complex patent ready to meet a deadline, and an unexpected change in legal resources meant a lot more work for me than I had planned on. I got some work done on Saturday, but a big part of Saturday afternoon and evening was taken up with a church activity I had committed to do long ago. I assumed that I would need to spend every spare moment on Sunday working on the patent. Since I had lost time on Saturday for church work, surely I would be justified doing my work on Sunday. That may be the case in many such situations, but I took a moment Sunday morning to contemplate my day in prayer, and honestly felt that I needed to not worry about my work that day and just make it a normal Sabbath. It was a risky decision, I felt, but it just seemed right to let go.

We had some good time together as a family, helped some Hmong kids get to Church, had a good experience in our meetings (including a wonderful spiritual experience helping to teach the Priests about forgiveness, featuring the dramatic story of Corey ten Boom forgiving a guard from her prison camp she met after the war), organized and passed out dozens of photos I had taken of ward members in our activity the day before (thanks to 1-hour processing on Saturday night), did a last minute home teaching visit (a great one for my youngest son who really enjoyed what turned out to be fascinating political discussion with a brilliant member of the Church in our area, whom we really enjoy visiting), worked on a couple magic tricks (some awesome instructions purchased from Ellusionist.com), did some reading together, made a new version of pomegranate salad with blueberries and cinnamon blended into the whip cream, did a little writing, updated my journal, handed out candy to trick-or-treaters, phoned some of my family members in Utah, answered some e-mail, and so forth. A busy and rewarding day - and no progress on the patent. Would I be toast on Monday?

The wisdom behind that prompting to let go on Sunday became clearer on Monday. It was a wonderful day at work. I simply skipped a four-hour meeting in the morning and focused on the patent. I grabbed a sandwich in our world-class cafeteria (Kimberly-Clark Corp. in Neenah, Wisconsin - come join us!) and brought it back to my office, taking a few minutes that made me a little late to another meeting but made a needed lunch essentially take zero work time. The biggest challenge of the day was a meeting I was in charge of in the afternoon that would take a couple hours of preparation time, but given that one key person no longer could attend, I realized that it would be best to simply postpone that meeting - and voila, the afternoon was free. And these liberated hours proved to be highly productive. My work just seemed to come together rapidly and more efficiently than normal, and at the end of the day, I was surprised to see that I was ahead of where I needed to be by Monday. In fact, I am essentially done. Wow - I really feel blessed. Sure, it may all be wasted effort in the end, but this little process reminds me that sometimes the mire is not so deep or so urgent as we thought - and frequently is simply muck that we have splashed on our poor beasts. I hope I can take the Sabbath more seriously in the future.

To those who don't believe in God and such things, there is a simple explanation for my trivial little story: I got some rest on Sunday and worked rapidly on Monday. Big deal. But to me, there was a spiritual prompting to sacrifice my work on Sunday, with a feeling that things would work out. And they did in a manner that strikes me as a minor but real blessing from God. Yes, I know some of the bitter critics out there cannot believe that God would help someone with something so trivial as their personal life at work or with their family on the Sabbath day when there are wars raging and people being killed all over the planet. (Is God bound to do nothing for anyone until world peace has been ushered in and all suffering has been eradicated by these wise critics?) I don't have the answers for the terror that man inflicts upon man, but even for those who suffer in the darkest prison cell or in the most desperate crises of health, thousands have born witness of the reality of God and of His power even when we are torn and distressed. His kindness is available in countless settings - why not my little setting here?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please post pomagranate salad recipe.

Mormanity said...

Fruit: seeds of one or two pomegranates, 2 sliced banans, 2 chopped apples, 2 segmented and diced oranges, other tasty fruit if available (papaya or fresh persimmon, for example). Mix and springle with a little lime juice (helps maintain color and adds a nice flavor).

Dressing: Whip about 1 cup of cream. Blend in vanilla, powdered sugar, about 1/2 tsp of fresh Ceylon cinnamon (best! - I get mine from Penzey's Spices), and 3 tablespoons of Smuckers 100% fruit blueberry preserves. Stir the jam in gently to blend, then whip with your electric beater for a few seconds. Mix in with fruit. Serve in a chilled glass bowl to show off the colors.

A sprig of mint or two might be nice as a garnish.