If you live in Bergen County, New Jersey, don’t try to go to IKEA on Sunday. It is, IKEA Bergen Countryin fact, the only IKEA store in the United States closed on Sunday. This is due to an ordinance that, despite multiple attempts at repealing, still requires all retail stores in a highly populated and commercial county to stay closed every Sunday. While Bergen County represents an unusual extreme, many stores and restaurants across the world stay closed one day a week either by law or by choice. This tradition that has roots in many different religions seems to be mandated in secular domains as well. It appears that the benefits of rest extend beyond the spiritual – and both religions and states alike feel compelled to remind us.

I first learned about the idea of designing a sacred day from a Jewish Life class I attended in preparation for a mixed-faith marriage. I was brought up with the tradition of food, family, and attending worship on Sundays; which his not unlike a traditional Sabbath day for Jews on Saturdays. But the progressive Rabbi leading this class opened up a new possibility – the idea of custom designing one’s own day of rest by asking the question: What helps me feel rested and nourished each week?

Each of us has different values, needs, and expectations. Some people feel rested after large gatherings of their friends, family, and community. Some people feel rested by taking a solitary hike, bike ride, or swim. Some people wind down by reading. Some rejuvenate by attending a religious service, meditating, or praying. I love to clean the house, write, and cook in solitude, which provides me time to reflect and gather my thoughts, followed by a relaxing evening with my husband.

I believe a day of rest becomes sacred when we define it according to our own rules and standards. What does your sacred day look like?

Advertisements