Sometime around (scholars think) 1860, Emily Dickinson wrote this poem:
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along!
I was thinking about this poem today because Cora and I stayed home while Chris went off to sing in the choir. Cora’s had a cold (I think I gave it to her) and some rocky bedtimes, so I wanted to let her sleep. Sleep she did - woke me up at 9:00, peering over the edge of the bassinet and smiling. She is very amused by the sight of me sleeping.
We didn’t really have a bobolink or an orchard. The weather has taken a post-Thanksgiving turn for the cold and there’s less birdsong in the air. But, we did have our cat Emily meowing several choruses of "please clean my litterbox please" and Cora kept up a cheerful babble while I put our breakfasts together. It’s a sunny morning and the window shades are all up to let the light in. I sang her a chorus or two or "This little light of mine" and I ate my egg burrito while feeding her apples with blueberries and peaches with oatmeal cereal mixed in. She nursed for awhile and now is sleeping again
I’ve long agreed with many of Dickinson’s opinions about many things, and especially her thorny relationship with the religion of her day. I like that she has her own opinions about what God might and might not care about. I don’t know if she would agree with me, but I found something sacred about the morning Cora and I shared. I think anytime I’m able to take time and notice things like the light and the present moment that it is a little piece of Sabbath. Dickinson says "the sermon is never long," but isn’t the sermon really going on all the time?