What is a weekend?

“What is a Weekend?”

Never would I presume to find a kindred spirit in Maggie Smith’s larger than life portrayal of The Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) from “Downton Abbey”, but as I catch a few minutes at the keyboard early on a Friday morning, I realize that just a week ago I had her innocence about the most enduring gift of the labor unions: the weekend.

On Monday morning this week, I went to work. I worked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and will shortly get ready to go today (Friday). While I was at work each day I was engaged and busy, but I went in empty handed and left the same. Whatever I did or did not do at my keyboard before and after had no direct connection to my work. And now, at the end of the day, I will experience my first official weekend in more than 25 years.

For two and a half decades, I have carried sermons and articles and pastoral concerns in my heart and mind 24-7. Now I work from Monday to Friday, from 8am to not quite 4pm. Not only do I have no direct responsibilities on Saturday or Sunday, I also have no carryover or planning. When I leave work this afternoon, I will be 100% off until Monday morning. A weekend.

Although I missed sharing my Thursday TILT, I confess that I’ve had so little time to ponder that I didn’t realize I’d missed Thursday until I was celebrating Friday. The days have been short this week, but I confess to being both emotionally and physically wiped at day’s end. As the very rhythm of my life changes, I suspect that writing patterns will change in likewise dramatic shapes. In fact I wonder if writing will even be a significant piece of this next chapter of my life.

To be sure there is much to write. The sights and sounds and emotions of this week are larger than any I’ve previously encountered in an employment context. Taking care to protect confidence, there are no doubt still thousands of words that could be shared. And yet simply riding the wave seems to use the available space in my heart and mind this week.

Beyond that I can say that I am grateful for breathing lessons, for the comfort to stand in my own skin while bearing witness, for Bowser (TMNT character) that is “bad, but really he is good on the inside”; I am grateful for a loving wife to hold me at the end of the day, for a small group of spiritual sojourners with whom to share the journey,for an opportunity to explore the road less travelled; I am grateful that the pear tree blossomed without my aide but not without my notice, the rocking of the hammock still brings peace, and the sun keeps showing up whether we are ready or not. Mostly I am grateful for children who, despite the odds and conventional wisdom, begin each day with the intention for life.

And now, in a few short hours, the gift of the weekend! L’chaim!