My day off always makes me think about death. Not death in general – my death.
The day usually starts out well. I get up early and luxuriate in the morning. There is no rush to get to the gym before I head into the church or to a meeting. I can sit around in my bathrobe drinking coffee and reading the newspaper or a novel.
Do I take on a project that will give me a sense of accomplishment? Do I spend the day at a museum or kayaking or exploring a Chicago neighborhood? Do I curl up with a book? What about the laundry that needs to be done, the refrigerator that needs to be filled and the dog hair in the corners that needs to be swept? There’s always the task at work I successfully avoided all week that I could knock out in an hour or two at home.
Can I really head to the forest preserve even if I didn’t tick through every item on my to-do list? Do I get a day off when the stairs need to be vacuumed? Maybe if I just worked a little harder my sermon for Sunday would be done and the laundry would be folded.
My day off chastises me – yes, I confess, I am inadequate.
I imagine people I know doing meaningful things on their days off. Surely people with children are on family outings connecting deeply with one another. I probably know someone who is writing a book or building a tiny house in their back yard. I’m trying not to make eye contact with my dog who wants another walk.
I assess my life. I have no significant other but many close friends and a fabulous dog. I am housekeeping challenged. I have a job I feel called to and mostly enjoy. Some days I battle loneliness and melancholy. I’ve made decisions I regret and have been wondrously blessed.
My Rabbi friend tells me Sabbath is supposed to be a celebration of life. For me it’s a moment to accept the limits of my life. I will die. I will die without skiing in the Olympics, giving birth or being as neat as my mother.
And I will die. Folding all the laundry, vacuuming the couch cushions, and preparing a sermon is not going to change that. Maybe it’s okay to catch a movie.