Stop day. It is a generous village tradition. When the guest population is low enough and the staff is weary enough our leaders proclaim a ‘stop day’ as gift for everyone who lives in the village. Even the most consistent and reliable daily rhythms of the village, like meals and worship, stop for one entire day.
Last year we were given a few stop days, but Micaela and I missed them due to our own travel out of the village. But today we actually are here and have been working hard and were very ready to live into this stop day. I brewed rich coffee and cooked up a warm breakfast for the other residents of our building; we all huddled together in our unheated space. For some reason, our building has not received heat in the last day – and with outside temperatures hovering around 5 degrees, its cold in here. Cold enough to sleep in a hat, wear two pairs of socks and watch a movie under two warm, blankets.
My little one put Spanglish into the DVD player after breakfast. She knows just how to reel me in and distract me from the laundry that needs doing and the book that I want to read. I’m not a huge movie buff, but this is easily my most frequently watch movie (there is one sex scene…and no, she is not allowed to watch it). The characters pull on all my soft and scarred heart strings. The story follows a single mother dancing the line of motherhood, romance, identity and priorities. And while I’m not a big crier, the conversation between mother and daughter at the end always pulls a few tears from my eyes. My favorite lines…
“I live for myself. You live for your daughter…none of it works.”
“American women, I believe, actually the feel the same as Hispanic women about weight: a desire for the comfort of fullness. And when that desire is suppressed for style and deprivation allowed to rule, dieting, exercising American women become afraid of everything associated with being curvaceous: such as wantoness, lustfulness, sex, food, motherhood; all that is best in life.
“Caring this much about your kids is sanity, and being that sane can drive you nuts!”
“She expressed regret that she had to ask me to deal with the basic question of my life at such a young age. And then she asked it. Is what you want for yourself to become someone very different...than me?"
Much gratitude for days open enough to stop, reflect and huddle for warmth. Turn off your phones, turn down the heat and give yourself a stop day…its rejuvenating.