Time apart is so needed and precious as a balance to the demands of other times.

A young man plays with his dog. Time apart is so needed.
Credit: Nora Sanders

Sun and shadows dancing across the pages of my book as the breeze moves through the branches above.

The earth moist and flowers perking up after yesterday’s much needed rain. 

The oppressive humidity cleared.

Two dogs stretched out sleeping under the patio table.

Two young men, on days off from GO Project and related work at Islington United, still asleep inside the house.

Bread dough rising in a big blue bowl on the kitchen counter.

The music of a birdsong, cicadas hum, and children’s voices from the nearby playground.

It’s the last morning of my “reading week,” a week of catching up on reading I have been wanting to get to. Such freedom, being out of the office, and mostly outside, yet having to read, and therefore not being available for the many tasks in house and yard I would normally feel called to.

Even on a day like this, the outside world crowds in. This morning’s headline brings news of at least 80 dead in an attack in the midst of Bastille Day celebrations in France. I can’t make sense of it. 

Time apart like I’ve had this week is so needed and precious as a balance to the demands of other times. Sustenance perhaps for the deeper engagement with the world that is so needed too.

Today I’m reading from Sara Miles’ book Take this Bread. It’s good reading as I puzzle over a world where the beautifully insistent hum of the cicada continues despite violence and death and terrible things in the world. The book is a great reminder that actions of love, small practical actions, are exactly what is needed, exactly the kind of prayer that is needed, in the face of overwhelming world events.

Peace to you this summer’s day.


P.S. Part way through the sleeping dogs and I were startled out of our peaceful reveries by Johny, awake now and fully energized, pouncing out the back door.  He got the desired effect!  Some disturbances are welcome….


Nora Sanders is General Secretary of The United Church of Canada.