If you are reading this series in sequence, as it comes out, then today is Sunday. If it’s not, you’ll have to bear with me a little, because this post is all about Shabbat – meaning Saturday. You could probably get by if you just thought back to the last Saturday you can remember. Hopefully it was less than 8 days ago.
So, what DID you do on Shabbat?
And yes, I’m going THERE. The Day of Rest. God’s Day. The Great Disconnect.
Here’s the thing – for over 25 years, I’ve been working in I.T. Aside from Wall Street day traders, you may few groups are more “on” than computer professionals.
It’s took me almost 20 years, but I finally realized that rarely does being always-on this help me get ahead. Mostly it makes me feel crushed, rushed, and stretched to the limit.
On top of that, I had a conversation with a Jewish, but not Orthodox, friend about the nature of Shabbat. He’s a bit of a contrarian and he was saying that Shabbat can be many things to different people.
“Sure,” I agreed, willing to be generous. “But there’s a line, right? Some stuff is simply NOT Shabbat.”
“OK,” I countered. “Let’s say it’s Saturday and you are in your car, driving your kids to soccer. You are talking on your bluetooth making a business deal, while also swearing at the lousy driver in the next car. You are doing MANY things, but Shabbat isn’t one of them.”
“That’s not true,” my friend insisted. “Maybe that’s what Shabbat is for some people.”
Without getting into the halachic arguments about what can and cannot be done on Shabbat, there’s a larger issue with my friend’s perspective: Not only is it not Shabbat, it’s not healthy.
Not being able to disconnect from the weekday embodies poor life choices – either for an individual or a family. When you talk to people who are running every moment of their weekend, they do not say “But this is such a healthy lifestyle for me.” They have their reasons, but “work-life balance” isn’t one of them.
So I’m going to challenge you: Look ahead to next Saturday. Maybe you simply can’t disconnect for the whole day. Maybe you can do it for a few hours. But maybe you can. Maybe you can’t do it every week. But maybe you can.
You’ll never know unless you try, unless you attempt to alter the status quo.
The point is, change is something we usually must do IN REACTION TO something around us. But we also can choose to change.
And maybe the act of choosing is the first part of the change that gives us back a piece of ourselves we didn’t even realize was missing.