The wisdom of leisure

Tonight I went to my first meeting of the “Sophia Circle“ (Sophia is Greek for wisdom). It sounds very grand and official but it is actually a group of about twelve moms who currently have or did have kids in the school my sons attended who want to get together and read and discuss some of the books our kids will read or did read in the humane letters class of this school. (All of us would agree that our kids are much better read than we are.) Leading the group is one of the actual humane letters teachers. I think she is doing it for the fun of it, but still we are passing an envelope each month and putting in five dollars a piece so that at least she and her husband can hire a babysitter one weekend night that month and go out somewhere.

Tonight our assignment was Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Joseph Pieper. (You may have noticed that I had a quote from that book on ”Daily Thought Infusion“ today and you’ll see more.) It was a challenging book to understand. It helped to hear others give their thoughts, offer their questions, suggest their understanding. It also helped immeasurably to be guided by a gifted teacher and discussion leader.

The Cliff note version is that without leisure we can’t live a fully human life. But true leisure isn’t what we typically think of as leisure. It’s not a coffee break in the middle of a work day, it’s not going to the movies, it’s not going to a concert. True leisure is stillness, contemplation, passivity, receiving, celebration. True leisure includes no motive for a means to an end. Mysterious components of leisure include sacrifice, worship, acceptance of who God made us to be. Without leisure we can’t ever become more than just a person for whom work comprises his or her entire sphere of life. While financial means aren’t required for true leisure, a certain spiritual power is. I’ll try to add another post about this book but need to let it percolate a bit.

Next month, the assignment is The Odyssey.