Most Americans, who have enough, but still want more, know that something has to give to get quiet more often. Space has to be intentionally created to have time to sit and laugh a little longer. Time has to be carved out, set-up, sometimes further than three weeks away from next Thursday to meet that friend for a walk. So we work for it. Always the steady dripping in the back of our mind, ‘maybe if we just work a little harder, we’ll have more margin,’ read money, to be able to do the things slowly that we long for, so we keep unwaveringly pushing. But maybe if we push a little harder, we’ll just be tired.
It’s Sunday. It’s another day to push and hurry and accomplish something, grow something, make something better. Whatever you do, do something, but not nothing. Be able to say you did something, ‘got some extra work done’ or ‘finished that project’. Anything, but not nothing. Monday comes and people come, tired. And they start again. Maybe they go to mid-week or midday classes to try to help their mind still. They wait for their phone on their wrist to beep at them bossing them into breath because they know it feels like they aren’t quite getting enough air living in this hurried rush.
In my own life, I make time one day a week- less house-work, less technology ringing at me telling me what to do or where to be. I move away from the machine that optimizes which article is likely to keep me looking down reading on my phone. Instead, it's books, trees, walks, outside time, gardening, board games- these are the things that refresh me while taking a break once a week. It isn’t perfect, and sometimes it must be interrupted (usually by a call from Neighborhoods!) but it seems to help me do the other days better than if I hadn’t had a break. I have limitations if I only work and never stop. Then there’s Neighborhoods. It never breathes, never really rests: 7 days, most 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Even though employees get days off, they don’t all get one on the same day. They don’t have one guaranteed day each week where their phone will never interrupt them with a request to cover or help out a friend.
So this fall, at Neighborhoods, I’m going to practice in my business what I attempt to practice in my home life. We’re going to reverse the trend of trying to do more to get more, and instead we’re going to slow first. Maybe by slowing first, we’ll end up with what we couldn’t achieve by trying harder and have the ability, read time, to use it to enjoy relationships. Maybe we’ll just end up with less money and better relationships. Either way, we are going to close on Sundays to give the business a chance to breathe.
Do you know what the employees did when I announced this big news at our fall staff meeting last Sunday? After the shocked faces, small shrieks, and surprised wonder, they began planning what they would do together, staying after the staff meeting had ended to brainstorm which Sunday they would go pumpkin picking. I hope they invite me because they make me laugh, and now we all have time to laugh a little longer. Come see us soon and experience if we aren’t ready to serve you, even better than before, just don’t come on a Sunday!