A Sunday afternoon nap punctuates a morning of Worship, a good meal and the woes of the week past.
The statement was made by a reader quite some time ago, but it left an impression on me. I love my Sunday naps (and the ones that come on any other day, truth be known).
I remember my brain was jolted into activity by the wonderful comment. I still have no idea who the author was, and I’d kind of like to keep it that way. I imagined 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. Only time will tell.
I read the comment aloud to the Lovely Lady back then, 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.
“A Sunday afternoon nap punctuates…”
The word nerd in me was all a-tingle 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 intended was a comma. I like commas, simply because they give me a chance to catch my breath. We take 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 one on any other day, is best described as a semicolon. This little mark, part period and part comma (including both in its form), gives a chance to place two sentences next to each other. The sentences continue from the first into the second, both aiding each other, but each 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 doesn’t force us to a full stop, nor is it merely a momentary pause; it is a chance to regenerate, to be ready to go forward. This must be what was intended in the pithy statement!
As I start to think outside the lines a bit, I’ve come to realize this thing we call time is more than a little 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 appointed to us.
Even having acknowledged the foolishness of our shortsightedness, living from work week to work week, I’m grateful for the rest along 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, 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; they only get us ready for what comes next. As the Bard so aptly wrote 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.
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)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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