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A travel moment that changed my life

Featured Image-Travel Moment-Biella Church

Having a day of rest, of recess, is an important part of my week, and inspires today’s article.

A travel moment that changed my life   

re•cess — noun
1. temporary withdrawal or cessation from the usual work or activity.

We often travel to see beautiful sights, have the opportunity to enjoy authentic experiences, and satisfy bucket list desires. Travel creates the excitement of anticipation, the joy of cultural immersion, and memories of special moments and time shared in special places.

Beyond that, sometimes travel can expose you to new ideas and perspectives that may affect you going forward. There are those small changes of new foods or traditions adopted from other countries. And every once in a while, there may be a moment that shifts the pattern of your life.

While I’ve traveled on our Sordevolo and Piemonte Pilgrimage in northwest Italy over the last week, I used it as an opportunity to relive a special moment from a similar tour in 2015, when one of our visits had a lasting impact on me.

During this tour and the first one I did, we stayed in the town of Biella, which is amazingly beautiful and authentic. As we toured the town, we went to this church which had a locked room with this fresco from the 15th century. The “Cristo della Domenica” image represents Christ being hurt by those who did not abstain from work on the Sabbath.

The Sabbath as a day of rest has pretty much evaporated in our current society, with constant activity and shopping and 24×7 cell access. I used to use my Sundays as a day off from work for shopping and errands, but then over time, as a business owner, Sunday became my time to catch up on work, and I really never saw Sunday as a spiritual time at all. I was in a class at church and heard that it’s a precept of the Catholic church to rest from servile labor – I hadn’t really heard that before and it was interesting thing to consider, but I let that thought go.

The “Cristo della Domenica” painting really struck me, and although I thought about it for a while, I let the impact pass until about a month later when I was working seven days a week, exhausted. On a business coaching call, there was a question about the biggest issue that I struggle with – I knew immediately my issue was being busy working all the time, and I knew the answer was that I needed to honor the Sabbath.

When the first Sunday came without any work to be done, I literally had no clue how to spend the day. So, I did what I always do – I bought a bunch of books to learn more. I discovered so many beautiful aspects about the Sabbath.

The root of sabbath means “cease, desist, stop, or rest”. During my reading of all the books about the Sabbath, I learned that at its core is about “ceasing, resting, embracing, feasting”. Look at those words and see what an amazing gift that is in this crazy busy world. Taking the time to become more spiritual, focus on God, family, and connecting is a true blessing.

I learned the beauty of the Jewish celebration of Shabbat, and I include it when planning trips to the Holy Land. It is truly inspirational to be in Jerusalem on a Friday afternoon and see the entire city basically slow down and stop for the Sabbath – stores close, trains stop, families gather for Shabbat dinner.

I presented this concept of Sabbath to a group of my church ladies and discussed how wonderful it is to have a day to rest in God with no work. That means not just business work but things like paying the bills or washing the clothes or even going shopping.

And I found that one of the biggest struggles for families with kids is all the kid activities that are obligated for Sundays – sports teams and various school activities. I believe our kids would grow up so much healthier if they knew that every week, they had a day of rest.

For children – give them the gift of the Sabbath. A day without nagging about homework or chores, but rather focused on love and family and embracing. Imagine kids going off to college and dealing with new situations, overwhelmed with homework, and knowing they have the refuge of the Sabbath every single week. For parents – cease from the work associated with parenting – cleaning up, doing laundry, running errands – and focus on enjoying children without worrying about getting things done.

Seeing that image in Biella changed a fundamental aspect of my life, so I wanted to share this idea that might inspire something new in your life.

While I help people travel and see this amazing world and take a break from regular life, I think a celebration of the weekly Sabbath is an important recess every week.

Suggested Reading:

1 Keeping the Sabbath Wholly: Ceasing, Resting, Embracing, Feasting

Dawn, Marva J.

Sabbath Keeping: Finding Freedom in the Rhythms of Rest

Baab, Lynne M.

Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now

Brueggemann, Walter

The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath
Buchanan, Mark

Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives
Muller, Wayne