Friday, April 22, 2011


I have now been a resident of Washington, DC for two weeks.

During those two weeks, I have moved into my new home, managed to get everything unpacked (almost: I have one box of books left to shelve), explored my way around my neighborhood, learned to navigate the metro and bus systems, and started a new job where I feel like I’ve truly “hit the ground running.”

For the most part, my days off have been spent shopping by day (for everything from bedding and curtains to food and basic household items) and settling by night (unpacking, cooking, hanging curtains, etc.). While it has “only” been two weeks, I am completely exhausted by these things. I feel like I have done nothing but run around! and I have been in desperate need of a true day “off.”

Today is Good Friday, so my office, affiliated with the Methodist Church, is closed. It feels weird that Good Friday - a day in the midst of the crazy-busyness that is Holy Week - would be a day “off.” Alas, I realize today that is one of the blessings of being a “lay” person. I have spent time thinking about all that is today in “Good Friday” and will go to church tonight, but in the interim, today really is a day “off.”

I woke up around 8 and stayed in bed: simply because I could. I got up a while later feeling rested and refreshed. I spend the morning dodling around in my new home, having a late breakfast, checking email, reading a few friends’ blogs I’ve fallen behind of. Really doing one of my favorite things on a day off, easily defined as: “nothing.” Or, as I like to call it: “self care.”

As the day grew close to noon I decided to progress into some delicate, slow-paced productivity. I washed the dishes, swept the floor. When I began to do so, I plugged my iPod into the stereo with a new cord I finally managed to buy this week. As the music filled the apartment it felt good and right: I did play one of my favorite energizing playlists, of course!

But that’s when I realized I was missing something. It took me a minute to figure it out, and as I was thinking about it the phone rang. I turned the music off and answered my phone. After a short conversation, I reached to turn the music back on, but that’s when I realized it: The thing that was missing, was the silence.

I spend all week with noise. As an extrovert, I celebrate that I am able to either always be talking to people or have my music playing while I work. As I walk (or take the bus) home from, work, my life is filled with the sounds of others around me.

This morning I realized that my time alone in the apartment was special for one reason above all others: for the first time, I was granted true silence without interruption. A silence that provides not just time for reflection, but also an opportunity for clarity and refocusing.

Truly, this is what taking sabbath is all about. Even if it comes on an unexpected day like Good Friday.

I know I won’t keep the music off forever: I probably won’t even last the afternoon. But for now, I appreciate that the only sounds I can hear are the clicking of the keys on my keyboard and the dishwasher running in the kitchen.

Truly, on days like today, there could be no better sound than the sound of silence.

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