Tired of Being Stressed?

By John McLarty

Photo by Dreamstime

The only way to keep my sanity is to periodically retreat to a place where life's frantic pace slows down...where the pressures to produce and perform are foreign. There is such a place, and I can get there from here, if I'm willing to make the effort.

You might think Yosemite's natural beauty would automatically have protected it from exploitation and over development. In reality, from the very beginning, Yosemite has needed active protection. Early entrepreneurs saw the area as a place for making money from hotels, sheep grazing and logging. Later, the Hetch Hetchy Valley was dammed to provide water and power for San Francisco. Today, the park is challenged by the sheer number of visitors and the effects of too many automobiles. Preserving the park's unique quality requires constant effort. Effort worth making, to be sure.

Sabbath is a time set aside every week for the special enjoyment of God, family and creaton. On Sabbath, we share food and worship together. We avoid the routines of earning a living or a degree. We refuse to be sucked in by the demands of house and car maintenance or the allure of shopping. For us, Sabbath is a park in time, a magnificent open space in our lives where we experience in a special way the presence and grace of God.

As with Yosemite, Sabbath requires determined protection. Given the demands in today's world that all of us be “available” 24/7, the tranquility and openness of Sabbath can be preserved only by deliberate effort. Just as a weekend in Yosemite erases any doubt about the wisdom of our efforts to try and protect its beauty, so our experience of Sabbath’s tranquility affirms the value of our efforts to preserve it.

Consider this an invitation to savor this magic time, to celebrate the special sense of connection with God, and enjoyment of family, friends and creation that comes with experiencing Sabbath. Find a church that worships on the seventh day Sabbath and sample the blessings that God had in minds when he carved in stone the ancient words, "Remember Sabbath, to keep it holy." You'll discover joy, wonder and love in this 24-hour "park in time."