In the last several month, the famous neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks contributed three essays reflecting on his life. If you don’t know who he is, he was portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie Awakenings. He also wrote several best seller medical essays and books documenting some of the most fascinating cases he’s seen in his practice, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, and Uncle Tongsten.

His last writing to the New York Times was published just a few weeks before his death, titled “Sabbath.” In it, he describes his upbringing in the orthodox jewish family and the meaning of Sabbath in one’s life.

“I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life- achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one’s life as well, when one can feel that one’s work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest.”
In this modern life, perhaps we never feel that our work is truly done, I certainly feel that way. I have not had a true day of rest and with the cell phone, work follows me everywhere I go. With my birthday approaching in a few month and very much a middle aged person, I find myself thinking of sabbath or a day of rest.

Step away from work this weekend, and find yourself a day of rest. Get a lot of sleep, hang out with love ones, go to the beach, and take a long walk with your dog. You do not need to wait until you are dying or feel that your work here is done.

A day of rest is a gift from God.

Stay in touch.

Dr. An.