It does not seem to matter if the people I speak with are doctors or daycare workers, shopkeepers or social workers, parents or teachers, nurses or lawyers, students or therapists, community activists or cooks. Despite their good hearts and equally good intentions, their work in the world rarely feels light, pleasant, or healing. Instead, as it all piles endlessly upon itself, the whole experience of being alive begins to melt into one enormous obligation. The standard greeting we hear everywhere is: I am so busy.
We say this to one another with no small degree of pride, as if our exhaustion were a trophy, our ability to withstand stress a mark of real character. The busier we are, the more important we seem to ourselves and we imagine, to others. To be unavailable to our friends and family, to be unable to find time for the sunset (or even to know that the sun has set at all), to whiz through our obligations without time for a single, mindful breath, this has become the model of a successful life.
How have we allowed this to happen? This was not our intention, this is not the world we dreamed of when we were young and our whole life was full of possibility and promise. How did we get so terribly lost in a world saturated with striving and grasping, yet somehow bereft of joy and delight?
I suggest that it is this: we have forgotten the Sabbath.