God Takes A Day Off – We Can Too!

Spending Shabbat at the Lincoln Park Zoo (Dave is the photo-master behind the camera).

Spending Shabbat at the Lincoln Park Zoo (Dave is the
photo-master behind the camera).

Let the countdown begin! This is what I think to myself at the beginning of each week. While I have always looked forward to the weekend, I have a newfound appreciation for Shabbat since Nava was born.

These days, our weekday routine is akin to an Olympic event in logistics. Dave and I are regularly in a race against the clock to get out the door in the morning, leave work in the evening, arrive home to get Nava bathed and in bed on time, and finish work at night before collapsing into bed and waking up to do it again the next day.

I consider a day wildly successful if I am able to either do one load of laundry or one load of dishes (I have yet to do both on the same weekday).  After five busy, jam-packed days, we crave spending one day together as a family. It is in this way that we consciously treat Shabbat as distinct from the rest of the week.

Everyone celebrates Shabbat differently, if at all. Growing up, we would have Shabbat dinner every week.  There would be weeks where we would have dinner at 5:00, so that my brothers and I could go watch the high school football game or out with friends.  But no matter what else was going on, we always had Shabbat dinner as a family.

Before Nava was born Shabbat was subsumed into our weekends – it was not separate. Saturday and Sunday were usually jam-packed exploring Chicago’s newest restaurants with friends, shopping, going to see movies, traveling, distracted by work obligations, and checking things off of our infinitely long to-do list.  Although we were doing fun things, our weekends were generally very busy.

Shabbat is supposed to be distinct and separate from the rest of the week.  It is a time to leave the world of work and reconnect with people. If God could take a day off, can’t we?

Dave and I now celebrate Shabbat by purposefully making the effort to slow down and spend time to be together – both as a couple and as a family.  On Friday nights, we will put Nava to bed, relax, eat dinner and watch a movie.

Saturdays are the best – we have a lazy morning, followed by music class at The Music Playhouse (the best 45 minutes of our week).  The rest of the day varies from week to week, but our goal is always to stick together and spend the day as a family. During the week as we think of fun activities to do as a family, we know that we do not have to “find time” to have the opportunity to do them together.

Dave and I try not to over-extend ourselves by making too many plans. It is the one day where we let time stop – no chores, no non-critical emails, no attacking the to-do list. In fact, I recently banned the concept of a “to-do list” in our house in an attempt for my husband and I to stay present and engaged on a more regular basis – I highly recommend it!

By Sunday morning, time starts moving quickly again as we prepare for our upcoming five day marathon.  Somewhere between the hustle and bustle of reading emails and cooking dinner each Sunday evening, I think to myself, “Let the countdown begin!”