“The spirit of our times is joyless urgency…” – Marilynne Robinson
Read that line again, and if you don’t have time, well there is the irony right there. The spirit of our times is joyless urgency.
Doesn’t that capture where we are at as a society, as a culture, as a people, even? Aren’t we rushing from one thing to the next, always busy, always hurried, unable to even enjoy all the things that rush past us?
Marilynne Robinson is known to be an astute observer of our times and she resonates with me. Sometimes that’s exactly how I feel – a joyless urgency to continue rushing forward to the next thing and the next thing after that.
But, when you live like that, chasing one thing after another, you quickly end up just feeling like a “thing.” Because to be human isn’t to rush from one thing to the next; it’s to appreciate life in all of its complexities and nuances. Being human is to have space to experience joy and grief.
So, if you are rushing from one joyless experience to the next, I have a remedy. It’s old, and it’s often admired and untried. It’s called Sabbath.
Take one day this week to rest. To relax. To unplug. To cease the endless rushing and to live in whatever space you may be in – good or bad. Stop the joyless urgency and running, and slow down for one day. You may feel bored, you may feel purposeless or even inefficient (that’s almost a synonym for sin in our culture), but my promise is if you do it consistently, you will feel healthy.
The spirit of our age is joyless urgency, but that doesn’t need to be your spirit. Sabbath.
“If there is any truth in relevant statistics – I doubt them all – perhaps health and longevity are not the effect of diet, of fish, vegetables, and olive oil, but having a little time to oneself, with family and friends.” – Marilynne Robinson