I write this from a cabin in the Smokey mountains just outside of Pigeon Forge, TN. I’m not for sure where I am exactly, the many sharp turns and curvy roads leave me unsure of where I am. It doesn’t help that we have no cell phone service. To say I am lost would be one word, but not the right word. Stranded might do it. So stranded that if a little more winter weather came down tomorrow than came down yesterday, we would have to stay here for a little bit longer praying for the sun to break through the clouds.
So a stranded cabin with no cell phones and no internet beckons one to reflect. How can you not reflect in the midst of a gorgeous creation. Nothing says “slow down” like a log-cabin-in-the-woods. Think about it for a second. Log-cabin-in-the-woods. You just read those words slower than you read a normal sentence. One thing about me is that I don’t “slow down” well. I speed up well. Give me a to-do list and I will do it as fast as I can, so that I can have another to-do list. Why sit and do 1 thing when I can sit and do 3? This is how my mind works, but in a log-cabin-in-the-woods surrounded by snow-covered trees, I am beckoned to slow down and reflect. I think the drive up here is a lot like life sometimes. Sometimes you have a destination say like seminary. You know you are supposed to be here, but outside of that you are unsure. So, you begin to go down one of the roads that is provided at seminary. You make these friends, take these classes, get this part-time job, and pick up these hobbies. Life takes you up a curvy, steep mountain leaving you unsure of where you are. You probably could find your way back down the mountain, but right now you know that you need this log-cabin-in-the-woods. You need this place where you can’t find out the lastest sports news or have your cell phone ring every 15 minutes. You need a place where you can “slow down.”
Slowing down is not just doing nothing. I think slowing down is about Sabbath. The Pharisees liked to think of Sabbath is doing nothing as in don’t lift anything, not even a light switch kinda of a nothing. Sabbath is much richer than that. Interestingly, the very first Sabbath was not on the first day of the week, but at the end of the week. You see Sabbath is essential about slowing down and reflecting. Reflecting on the long, curvy roads that got you to this log cabin in the woods. From here, you can look back and see the curves you took too fast and the ones you took just right. You can just look out and experience the beauty of creation and praise the Creator. You can also reflect on where to go from here. Knowing where I have been, what direction do I head in now? Am I equipped to take down the treacherous road that lies ahead, or do I need to build up my strength and patience down another trail first?
I wish I could come back to this log-cabin-in-the-mountains weekly and experience Sabbath here. I know better than that, but I know God better than that. We don’t need a log-cabin-in-the-woods to experience Sabbath. We just need to “slow-down” and open ourselves to the beautiful creation and the beautiful creator.