Thursday, January 26, 2006

262. Shabbat

I sat down to write this post, and then reconsidered. There's no way, I thought, that I can describe how much I enjoy Shabbat without sounding like all the words I disbelieved and dismissed when I was growing up. Taste of eternity, oasis in time, etc.--beautiful images, but just an intriguing abstraction, like the sunrise to a blind man, until you've inhabited them.

It's taken me awhile to learn how, but I can now stop on Shabbat long enough to understand the gift of pausing. I don't always succeed--which is fine, because the acceptance of whomever I might be at that moment is also part of this day. I do my best to shove worry, fear, jealousy, and all their relatives under the rug for a few hours. It's pretty crowded down there; they won't get lonely, so I have no reason to feel guilty.

When alone, I don't always observe by the book. But I do my best to look at the world differently on Shabbat, mindfully and deliberately, marveling at the abundance with which I'm surrounded. With friends I delight in the ritual that sets this day apart: a real tablecloth, challah, some time wrestling with the words we heard or read that morning. I allow myself--demand, in fact--a few hours of feast for both palate and brain. And I must confess that my favorite Shabbat dessert is a nap on the couch right after reading People magazine. (Some people eat Twinkies; I take the low-calorie route and spend a weightless hour, preferably right after some meaty Torah study, pondering Brad and Angelina.)

Every week, month, year, I discover a little more about how to live in this gift. The best of Shabbats begin to feel like someone taking me by the hand, holding me close, teaching me to fly.


Glory said...

Love your last paragraph. Would that we all would experience the same, whatever our spiritual journey.

Regina Clare Jane said...

I am beginning to love Shabbat as this new and total experience in a lifelong learning process... I hope that as that years pass on my spritual journey, Shabbat will always be the one stabilizing force in my life.