You quote E.B.White at the beginning of the book on the struggle between improving and enjoying the world. How have you made peace with this struggle, or have you?
I love this question, because I love the E.B. White quote! Here it is, for those who aren’t familiar with it:
“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
There’s a perception that Sabbath is a selfish pursuit, and that spirituality in general is self-indulgent. I share that perception, to some extent… or at least, I understand how our culture can take gifts such as Sabbath, prayer, retreat, solitude, and worship, and twist them into sentimental escapism. The E.B. White quote illustrates this tension. At its best, though, Sabbath draws us more faithfully into the world. It connects us with the God who is Creator of all that is, and who desires the wholeness—the shalom—of this creation. And Sabbath gives us energy and vitality for the work to which we have been called.
That said, I have come to a peace with this tension, because I no longer see it as a struggle.