Sunday's Thought: Keeping the Sabbath.
It was quite a week-- I'm still floating from the Governor's Awards for the Arts and Humanities ceremony in Juneau Thursday night. To be included with the seven other awardees from across the state was a huge honor-- and I'm trying not to reel too much from all the news bombarding us -- every hour something crazier happens. I feel like I'm losing my mind with all these tweets and orders.
Thomas Friedman said on the BBC this week, that the new president will "suck our brains out" if we let him. I've been thinking about that-- and about the value of the arts and humanities always, but especially in times like these. I don't think the late Haines Prof. and linguist Ron Scollon ever was given a Governor's Award for distinguished service, but he should have been. He was a wise and well read man, and funny and quick too-- Ron advised me, way back when cable news was making it's 24 hour debut-- before the internet-- (now you know why they call these awards 'distinguished' ...)that knowing the news as it happens is not necessary, and can actually be harmful to our well being. He said that taking a breath to check and interpret the facts, to let the dust settle, to read the full story rather than the play-by-play is healthier. He said that is as true for the rumor mill in Haines as it is for the national news cycle. Thomas Friedman echoed Ron when he said he was glad he only has to write one column a week for the New York Times now, and not two. It gives him the time it takes to study an issue before he prints his opinion in the paper.
Today is my Sabbath, and I plan to keep it off-line and screen-free. I will do my best to continue this practice every Sunday this year. (You think I can? Maybe I will try it today, and really commit during Lent?) Trust me, first thing Monday morning I will call Senator Murkowski, again. I will study my borough assembly packet, I will do the work I'm given to do and write the stories that move me. But today, I will hush the screams and tweets. I will take a long walk with the dog, attend church, have lunch with a grand daughter, and maybe clean the chicken coop, have the family over for supper, and read more of Alaska Writer Laureate Ernestine's Hayes' new book, The Tao of Raven, before I fall asleep, because, as Wendell Berry wrote:
"Sabbath observance invites us to stop. It invites us to rest. It asks us to notice that while we rest, the world continues without our help. It invites us to delight in the world's beauty and abundance."