Sand spits on the back of my legs; shells pulverize beneath my tread as I keep up with her pace. Sweat drips down my back and seeps into the white Monet t-shirt I bought as a souvenir from the National Gallery of Canada before I had kids. Did I mention they are teenagers?

We’re two girlfriends meeting on a week day at the beach, before tourists monopolize the public parking spaces and the heat smothers. Before showers and makeup, cups of tea and checking off the to-do list, we walk briskly along the shore in tandem watching the golden orb lift her sleepy head to welcome the day.

We share ideas about navigating summer schedules with teens through shallow breaths. Years of complaining about kids not sleeping converts to worry about them sleeping too much. Asking questions I never dreamt I would hear from my own mouth. Is it okay to let them sleep until noon? And how late is too late when it comes to bedtime?

If I’m totally honest, there is a part of me that wants them to keep sleeping. I like having quiet mornings all to myself. And it means fewer hours of guilt about having zero plans for them. Did I mention they are teenagers?

Sometimes summer is seamless and swift, like one big siesta you don’t want to end. But it’s not that way for everyone.

While summer is a season to make confetti of schedules and justify indulgences, it can also be a time of dreaded isolation. A whole lot of rest from routine means a wide berth for loneliness to fill in the empty edges. Edges normally crowded with responsibilities and casual conversation on the sidelines.

And Sabbath can start to feel like one more day, just like all the others.

How do we maintain the sweetness of Sabbath when routine isn’t routine? I asked Mark Buchanan.

 First, I try to cultivate a Sabbath heart – an attentiveness to, thankfulness toward, and trust in God. This allows me to practice the presence of God regardless of where I am. Second, I try to schedule mini-Sabbaths – an hour here, two there, maybe half a day – simply to enjoy the creation and its creator. ~Mark Buchanan, Author of The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath

Perhaps these two practices are the prescription for summertime sadness of the soul, with a caveat. Admit you are lonely to a friend.

Do you ever feel isolated in the summer?

May your Sabbath begin and end with the knowledge that isolation may lead to loneliness but it doesn’t mean you are alone. That God may be silent, but he is never still. Remember that your vulnerability isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a confirmation of courage, a whisper of welcome to a world waiting for a sign of hope.


Links around the web this week on the themes of Rest and Sabbath (maybe its becoming hip to rest):

Don’t Just Do Something by Mark Buchanan

Sandcastles on the Same Side of the Ocean at Unexpected – “Our family is a process, always in process.  I’m never sure how many chairs on the beach we’ll need the next year.”

Being a Closet Radical at Every Bitter Thing is Sweet – “To choose true rest is to believe that beauty often happens outside of what I create with my own two hands.”

What It Looks Like to Have a Cyber Sabbath by Holley Gerth for {In}Courage – “Yes, I need the actual rest on my Cyber Sabbath. But I need the lesson it teaches me about the other six days even more.”

The Value in Catching Your Breath by Deidra Riggs – “We — as is our custom — have tainted the idea of sabbatical. We’ve made it a break from one type of work, in order to attend to another type of work.”

A Life Full of Sabbaths by Lore Ferguson – “But at its core and its very marrow, the work of salvation is rest, Sabbath. It is to say, again and again and again, I rest in You, Lord of Rest. I find my Sabbath in you, Lord of the Sabbath.”