Comments 13

Saturday Sabbath {The Full Roundness of Being Empty}

It seems we were scheduled for a date with emptiness.

A morning that stretched before us with no demands. No time to be here or there, no time to pick up and leave…just the day stretching before us like a cat in a pool of sunshine.

This sapphire cabochon sat amongst a boxful of of timepieces, ticking, ticking away in their monotonous counting. A glistening blue oval of a whole day to be held in the palm and marveled, to be studied in full light, to have its weight and shape measured against only the heat of my skin and pulse of my heart.

So my pulse slowed to resting and my skin soaked the warmth of the day rising and the cool of the breezes that trailed behind dawn’s skirts.

We packed a picnic because empty days are the best days for picnics.

We packed poles and tackle.

We pulled in, crunching gravel under slow-moving tires.

We stepped on bobbing, moaning docks of weather-worn gray–pathways to the edge of nothing. Only water-blue and sunshine sparkle waited at the end of this gray, boardwalk road.

And that suited us just fine.

We walked to the end, hooked bait, tested bobbers and dropped lines.

All the while we knew today wasn’t about catching fish, making dates, filling calendar slots.

Today was all about emptiness.

So we were quiet in the cathedral of nothing, four souls silenced by the choir of nature, the lapping of small waves under aging dock-wood, the creak of joints and the rub of a boat bumping the edge of the dock.

We heard the breeze.

And it was prayer.

And conversation came, like stories told from the lips of an old man, slow and deliberate. We listened with attention to our kids’ questions and thoughts because there was, for a handful of moments, nothing distracting that pressed us towards  the quick-paced treadmill of day-to-day. They held poles and waited, waited.

But today wasn’t really about catching fish.

It was holy for it was set apart and we were made content and joyful with togetherness.

And communion was cups of lemonade and a stack of wheat-bread sandwiches. Fellowship was found in hugs in the shade of an old lilac tree and the message was found in a single centimeter caterpillar, a spinning prophet sailing on a tiny silk thread.

He spoke silent words of wisdom from King Solomon. As he turned in midair on that filament of strength he reminded me, “Vanity, vanity….”

I nodded in silent assent and soul agreement to the truths contained in the leaves of the Saturday Sabbath.

Filled with emptiness, we turned reluctant again toward life.

We packed our symbols of simple liturgy and reentered the race full. Full of the emptiness of grace and the filling of good things that can’t be measure or defined in earthly terms because they are large with the divine.




  1. Good for you for understanding the significance of that day, one of the most important to the family. Finally, we all have to reenter the rat race. Thanks for a reminder to make the most of each opportunity.

    • Hi Floyd! I think that taking the time to unwrap the memory, to glance back and realize there was an opportunity taken, that it such a gift. Perhaps that’s why we write, to pull back the wrapping of our experiences and see how we’re really living… Bless you today! aly

  2. Visiting from Ann’s. The “emptyness” of not really having to do anything at all….a beautiful post!

    Have a great week ~

    Amy @ Hope in the Clouds

  3. This is beautiful. It seems the best days are always the simple, family filled. What a great blog you have here.

    • Thank you — come by whenever you like. This was a good day, and very much needed since our summer has been so busy…. Blessings, Aly

    • thank you! that is exactly what I think when I read your posts — you inspire language and story and hope with your writing. I’m glad to know you, Aly

  4. As a fisherwoman, I really resonate with this post. One of my favorite places is out in the middle of a little lake in Minnesota, where the loons cry and the eagles fly and the sun sets the western horizon ablaze at dusk.

    • Big hair, fishing, frenetic housecleaning when we should be writing… we have a few things in common, Jennifer. I can’t call myself a fisherwoman, but I have lots of memories with my dad, and now my kids, involving worms and hooks and a still-water lake at dusk. I catch memories 😉

  5. jodyo70 says

    Alyssa–wow! Just stopping by from the High Calling link up. This was stunning. How you weave your words, wow……..
    this ending especially got me, “We packed our symbols of simple liturgy and reentered the race full. Full of the emptiness of grace and the filling of good things that can’t be measure or defined in earthly terms because they are large with the divine.”
    So very glad you shared this.

  6. I felt myself calm as I read your words. Your imagery is exquisite in this Alyssa. Enjoyed your Sabbath and look forward to taking one myself in a couple of days.

  7. “We heard the breeze. And it was prayer.” Yes! This is such a lovely piece, Alyssa. I could feel the peace settle into my spirit as I read. I’m so glad you linked up the the High Calling this week. A perfect illustration of the blessings of keeping Sabbath.

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