“Anonymous” left a comment about last night’s musings. “A Sunday afternoon nap punctuates a morning of Worship, a good meal and the woes of the week past.” Now, I don’t usually do follow-up posts, but I can’t pass up this propitious opportunity. First of all, I’m always happy when readers leave a little of themselves on my pages; otherwise, how would I know if I’m on the right track at all? While I don’t depend on the comments for my sense of well-being, it never hurts to get a feel for what the recipients of my ramblings take from them, as well as giving me a sense of who you are. But, in reality, my brain was jolted into activity by the wonderful comment above. I have no idea who the author is and I’d kind of like to keep it that way. I can imagine some wise person perusing my daily nonsense, finally finding a post worth commenting on and making an intellectual statement which may one day be in all the lists of quotes by famous writers, motivational speakers, and anonymous sources. Not likely, but a guy can dream, can’t he?
I read the comment aloud to the Lovely Lady, finding that hearing the words brought a completely different perspective to the statement. What roused me was the use of one word in the sentence. The verb in the sentence brought me to a screeching halt. Yep, just like a period. “…punctuates…” The nerd in me was all atingle instantly. The picture drawn by the sentence was vivid. Yes! They get it! The Sunday nap is the period on what is past. A full Stop. No more. And, just like that, I wanted to believe that it was true. The hard week, the busy days, the weariness, all were banished with the period of the nap. This far and no further. Gandalf the wizard was on the bridge in Moria standing against the evil Balrog. “You shall not pass!”
But, just as quickly as it appeared, the vision dissolved into nothing. That’s not right, I thought. There’s no disconnection from one day to the next. There’s no full stop and restart. Perhaps, the punctuation Anonymous meant was a comma. I like commas, simply because they give me a chance to catch my breath. A very brief rest and we’re on to the next phrase. Yes, maybe the comma. But as I considered it some more, I don’t think that fits either. The comma doesn’t give any sense of renewal, but simply separates parts of the same idea. Just a pause, and a continuation of the same old, same old. Not much refreshment in that. No, not the comma.
We could keep going. We haven’t talked about the exclamation point! Excitement! Surprise! Shock! They’re all rolled up into one little straight line with a period below. Nope, not quite the description of a nap. At least, not a good nap. How about the question mark? Why? How? When? It still misses the target by a good bit. I scratched my head for a moment more, and then I had it.
I think the Sunday nap, or a nap on any other day for that matter, is best described as a semicolon; the little mark, part period and part comma (it includes both in its form) which gives a chance to place two sentences next to each other. The sentences continue from the first into the other, both aiding each other, but able to stand alone if need be. I’m exhausted from the events of this week; the semicolon allows me to be refreshed for the new one to come. It’s not a full stop, not a momentary pause, but a chance to regenerate, to be ready to go forward. This must be what Anonymous meant!
As I start to think outside the lines a bit, I’ve come to realize that this thing we call time is a bit arbitrary. We make the day start and stop at midnight, but the moments keep marching past, oblivious to our false milestones. Time pays no attention to weekends, nor to Mondays; only we humans are foolish enough to mark those anniversaries. What is true is that our past leads continuously to our future; the lessons of yesterday become the practices of tomorrow. The times of refreshment we crave and even require, simply give us a chance to regroup and move on through the days that are appointed to us.
Even having acknowledged the foolishness of our shortsightedness, living from work week to work week, I’m grateful for the rest on the way. I will happily admit that the nap isn’t the only thing which accomplishes this. I love the fellowship of friends and family, the joy of music, and even reading; all these and more bring about revival and rejuvenation. May we enjoy these times throughout our lives, with the real goal in sight, the goal of serving our Maker daily. Every new moment is an opportunity for service and being agents of change in the world; every encounter is a chance to show God at work in us.
The sentences are long; the semicolons between them are short and blessed. They’re not intended to stop the action, just to get us ready for what’s next. As the Bard so aptly uttered centuries ago, “What’s past is prologue.”
I’m not sure if Mr. Shakespeare also wrote the old ad copy for Lee Nails, but it speaks to us too. “Press On!”
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.
“Sometimes you get a glimpse of a semicolon coming, a few lines further on, and it is like climbing a steep path through woods and seeing a wooden bench just at a bend in the road ahead, a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.”
(Lewis Thomas~American physician, poet, and etymologist)