There are so many reasons to love summer.  The longer days with daylight after dinner to enjoy being outdoors. The warmer weather (although I could do without some of the humidity and mosquitoes). The fresh summer produce—especially the great corn and tomatoes.  Our kids are out of school in the summer, which means we transition into a whole different schedule in the house—one that I enjoy immensely.

And near the top of the list of what is great about summer is that “a few days away” vacation that many get to take in the summer.  The “R&R,” rest and relaxation, of a summer vacation is one of the best things about summer.  But a bit of rest in the summer is simply not enough.

I grew up in a family that fully embraced the idea of rest cycles.  Our family kept Sabbath, every single week.  That meant that from Friday evening at sundown to Saturday evening at sundown, we shifted into a whole different set of routines—with the idea of rest from work right at the heart of that 24-hour period.  It was a period that refocused our attention from daily work to reflection and worship of the Creator.  I came to understand it as a wonderful gift from God.

I still keep Sabbath each week, and as an adult I understand and value it in ways that escaped me as a child.  I am so thankful for the way it helps me put things into the right perspective, deepens my awareness of God’s goodness , and recharges my batteries.  I look forward to it every single week.

I also grew up in a family that valued rest on a daily basis—so we went to bed on time and got our hours in.  Sometimes I resented it, but looking back I realize the importance of adequate rest for optimum health.

At Adventist HealthCare, we value all three of these cycles—it’s a part of the core culture that makes us who we are, and rest informs our mission and ministry.

We take seriously creating environments where healing is optimized, and recognize that a daily rest cycle is important for our patients and staff alike.

We encourage our employees to use up their personal leave, and not just to bank them endlessly. Those summer vacations are important for the health of our staff, and that makes them important to us.

As a Seventh-day Adventist sponsored organization, our institutions embrace a different cadence on the weekly Sabbath.  While our service to our communities is 24/7, the choices we make about how we manage and run our organization is deeply influenced by an intentional approach to that weekly rest cycle called Sabbath.

I feel very strongly about the importance of all the things we do to enable adequate rest—daily, weekly, and annually, but especially the weekly Sabbath.  The words of the ancient psalmist elevate an appreciation of a weekly day for rest and worship to spiritual significance:   “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.   This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety” (Psalm 91:1).  The cycles of rest that we embrace and appreciate—daily, weekly, annually— are not only ways in which we find optimal health—they are also ways in which we can understand God as a resting place, refuge, and place of safety.

Just one more thing to love about the R&R of summer.