The bookends of a day well spent- Hamley Perry spends a fulfilling day with his family and then graciously lets us have a peek in his diary.
Dear Diary ... Friday March 3, 10 pm
You have no idea how glad I am that it's Friday night! This week's been crazy. It's always a relief to get to Friday evening and put another week of work, school, meetings and shopping behind us. Never more so than this week.
Looking over the past few pages I'm reminded of the chaos we've been living in. Look back a bit further, and I see just what a relaxing, restful, invigorating tradition this family enjoys in the 24 hours that begin at sunset each Friday.
Jack Bauer and the rest of his counter- terrorism unit would just love a “24” like we have every week! I never tire of telling of this great weekly tradition. In fact, retelling has me all the more eager to experience it again. Here I go ...
All of us are so tightly wound by Friday, it's just brilliant to have a circuitbreaker to prevent us biting off each other's heads or ripping out our hair.
The first part of our ritual is to turn off the TV and radio; we stop our usual chores, put on some relaxing music and sit down to a well-prepared meal. Everyone unwinds during this time, and we start to chat about the interesting things of the week—the people we've met, the things we have discovered. We have a chuckle about things. All good fun; very relaxing. So much better than the talking at each other in staccato fashion in TV commercials, which is by far the norm on other days! n Another part of our Friday tradition is to pause for a few moments just as the sun sets to watch the colours change and darken, and to think back on the highlights of the week as one day ends and another begins. Like we did this evening, we usually pray together, thanking God for looking out for us during the week, telling Him how much we anticipate His Sabbath.
We also choose—for the next 24 hours—to not get caught up by the so many things that pull us apart on other days. Homework ends for the girls.
Household chores are put on hold (my wife has a huge reduction in her workload!), and business matters are held in abeyance to be dealt with another day.
Spending money is postponed (always a relief ), and getting battered and bruised, or just stiff and sore with sport can all wait, as can the mowing and weeding.
(It's no wonder we all sleep so well on Friday night, knowing none of those things must be dealt with tomorrow.) We catch up with friends, grandparents, brothers and sisters, and various others during the next day, Saturday. I'm unsure how we would get to enjoy this social time if it were not for the conscious decision we've made to use the day in this way.
I'll talk again tomorrow.
Dear Diary ... Saturday, March 4, 8 pm
Well, it's been another great Sabbath for the family. As usual, a slower start to the morning than on school days. Nice to have a more relaxed feel around the breakfast table. Nice to eat something different for breakfast too—things we're usually too rushed for other days. Like grapefruit and raisin toast.
Talk around the breakfast table inevitably turned to what to wear. Most Sabbath mornings we go to church, and the girls always like to look their best.
Going to church on Saturday isn't what many people in our area do, but we enjoy it. There are many aspects we enjoy. We begin with Bible study, but it isn't like other study. The kids learn the stories of the Bible—Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, Daniel and the lions' den, Jonah and the whale, and a lot about Jesus and His miracles and other things He did. For them there are games to play, crafts to do and songs to sing.
They have a great time with their friends.
Us older ones spend the time looking at some of the other things the Bible has to say—the important principles and values God wants us to live by. I'm amazed at the useful ideas and advice that comes out of the Old Book. And when you get to chat about that with a group of other people, it helps make things clearer still.
We also talk about what has been happening in our home, work and social lives. Hearing other peoples' experiences of how God helped them, either through things they have understood from the Bible or from events, is encouraging.
Our church day, then, has a family worship time when we all get to praise God for His amazing love, then we hear something from our minister, which is helpful in the spiritual aspect of our lives.
Today I really enjoyed chatting with friends after the church program. That's a really social time.
This afternoon, there was such glorious weather! Because of our tradition of not mowing lawns, attending to busi ness, shopping or doing homework, we were able to take advantage and went for a walk in bushland near our home. It was a delight to soak in the atmosphere without the intrusions of other days. The sounds of the birds, the wind in the trees and the water in the stream, the sight of wildflowers beside the track, the bright sunshine and clear, blue sky, the girls, the refreshing scent of eucalyptus oil surrounded us—they're all examples of what God has created for us.
It struck me: God created the Sabbath— this day that my family and I find simultaneously relaxing and invigorating was created specifically by God. I think that I have often taken it and its blessings for granted.
And the blessings? First there's the rest that provides me with the opportunity to refocus my attention on God. Second, there's a regular reminder of Creation and the knowledge that this world and humankind were made specifically and carefully by God rather than some random and purposeless evolutionary event.
This gives me a tremendous sense of value and self-esteem.
This evening, as my wife, the girls and I again watched the brilliant colours of the sunset, we once again prayed together, thanking God for our special day together.
I've been reminded that Sabbath was created by God for humankind as an opportunity for us to tune in to Him, and each other, instead of the usual hustle and bustle of life. Sabbath is a reminder of God's creation of this earth and of His great love for us.
Now, having enjoyed it so much, I'm ready to face a new week, knowing that at the end of it I get to have another break, relax and re-energise.