FOR JEWS THE SABBATH is the seventh day, Saturday, and for most Christians it is the first day, Sunday. In either case, it is a day set aside from the other six as the day God himself blessed and hallowed, "because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation" (Genesis 2:3).

Banks and post offices are closed, and most businesses shut down. In some states you can't buy a drink, and the regular weekday newscasters are replaced by substitutes. Religiously inclined people may go to church. Otherwise life goes on much as always. The shopping malls are usually just as crowded as on any other day, many of the roads are even more so, and newspapers swell to grotesque proportions. Insofar as it is still treated as a day of rest, the rest is apt to consist of people knocking themselves out on tennis courts, golf courses, and hiking trails or doing things like mowing the lawn, painting the back porch, paying bills, or taking a long afternoon nap.

You think of God resting after the creation was finally all created. You think of the deep hush of it, like the hush between breakers at the beach. You think of the new creation itself resting—the gray squirrel ceasing to twitch and chatter, the kingfisher settling down on the branch by the pond, the man and the woman standing still in the garden. You think of God blessing this one day of the seven and hallowing it, making it holy.

The room is quiet. You're not feeling tired enough to sleep or energetic enough to go out. For the moment there is nowhere else you'd rather go, no one else you'd rather be. You feel at home in your body. You feel at peace in your mind. For no particular reason, you let the palms of your hands come together and close your eyes. Sometimes it is only when you happen to taste a crumb of it that you dimly realize what it is that you're so hungry for you can hardly bear it.

-Originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words

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