Posted by: cctracker | July 22, 2013

A Lunch Break Mind

Summer Perennials

Photo James Burton

Summer vacation is behind me . But an open week sits between this monday and next when I’ll be back in the office. I’ve scheduled a week of chores.

Re-staining the deck was first on the list. There was something very familiar and comforting about doing the prep work today, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was until I took a break for lunch and sat staring out from my porch at the street, passing cars, and  flowers in the garden.

I was thinking about almost nothing at all. My mind, my emotions, even the pores on my skin just felt open. Unoccupied. The business at hand, it seemed, was simply rest…doing nothing. A blessed lunch break.

I realized sitting there in that lunch break frame of mind, that I used to spend a lot of time here. From grade school through college I worked manual labor jobs in the summer and had a few other jobs with defined lunch breaks. I don’t think I consciously knew how full of peace and significance those many hours were when I went through them as a younger man, but I can retrieve their felt value now, even if I can’t capture it in words.

My neighbors a few houses east have house painters working today. I’d seen them sitting around, nearly motionless, earlier in the morning and for a moment I couldn’t understand what was going on. It was as if they were all floating in a pool of dead-quite water. They are laborers attending to demanding, mundane, repetitive tasks that nevertheless require skill and focus and they work along with millions and millions of others like them. But at some point they take a break to rest for a few moments in an open space that somehow stamps them as beings not workers, with a nature and purpose larger than any contract for services rendered.

Today I am a worker again, so I took a lunch break and there was a crucial grace for me in the moment. An opportunity to viscerally remember that we are made for being not merely for productivity . God willing, some part of me can remember to step into the grace of being next week, back at the office.


  1. Lovely post, Jim. Thanks. I know exactly what you’re talking about. (But I’d like to talk to you sometime about how you stain your deck. I’m never happy with how my staining jobs hold up.)

    • Thanks a lot for the response, Frank. Let’s talk decks or anything else soon, shall we? Enjoy more lunch break weeks if you can.

      Sent from my iPhone

      On Jul 22, 2013, at 11:04 PM, Spirit in the World

  2. Beautiful, Jim.

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