Sunday 17 April 2011

Drawing on experience

I wrote 'A Just Church' in a little three roomed house near Tacuarembo, in my wife's home country of Uruguay. The house, in a placed called 'Balneario Ypora' was rented to us by a family of vets who had built the house themselves as a retreat from the city.

I felt hugely privileged to have the opportunity to retreat. I realise that although it is a basic human need, Capitalism provides little chance for most of the worlds population to enjoy such a thing. We work until we are in need of the services of a funeral director.

But we must resist the temptation to work until we drop. People need time off. Unions fight for it, humans desperately try to manipulate the system, even 'faking a sickie' if that what it takes. We need breathing space.

It is not even that we are less productive when we have time off. When I have time off, I actually get things done - I can write a book, I can get some drawing done, I can finally play with my wife and kids.

In my experience, the only reason that I stay sane, and remain a good minister and activist, is that I take time out to have a break. Whether that's 3 times a week in the sauna, or a sneaky afternoon at the cinema, or a few days here and there with the family, I try to take my moments when I can. But even though I know I need time out, like most of us, I am failing horribly to really retreat from the hustle and bustle of life.

Here is my test. Have I made enough time to draw? Sketching is the thing I find myself only able to do when I really take time to relax properly. Here I am found wanting. I haven't drawn since I came back from Uruguay 14 months ago.

Drawing from experience (if you can forgive the pun) I know that if I'm not being creative then I'm not taking God's idea of 'sabbath' seriously. Sabbath effectively means honouring the cycle of working and resting, and really recognising the value of the resting bit.

It is time for some time off.

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