Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Slinking Towards Sabbath

I have tried, God knows I have tried.  I've started this week's blog about three times on paper and in my head about ten times but it's just not a pretty sight.  I'm angry.  You are angry.  We are all angry.   My friend Traci has one dear friend from the opposite side that she insists can discuss politics with her and they remain civil.  But they were college roommates and have always disagreed and always will; that's kind of the bedrock of their relationship.  The rest of us are not so lucky and some of us have even had to abandon precious relationships at seeing the other with new eyes.  Nobody actually changed we just found out new information about the other, more than we knew before. "I didn't know you were a scum sucking liberal commie, I thought you just liked cats and rock music and stuff the way I do. Golly, get out of my sight." The best route is probably going to be just avoiding the conversation completely like any decent dysfunctional family would do.


So, I give up.  I'm not going to talk about politics today.  I'm too tired, mentally and spiritually.  I am re-reading my friend/mentor Clay Brantley's doctoral paper he wrote on the topic of "The Other" because it might help me understand our hesitance to acceptance immigrants.  If I glean words I think might help us I will share them here next week.  For now, I think we both need a break.


I have to get ready for the biggest month of the year:  Retreat Month.  February holds more retreats than any other month.  I guess somebody looked at the calendar and the weather and decided we couldn't do anything else so we might as well go off somewhere and think about stuff.  I'll be at a retreat every weekend this month and tomorrow I need to be ready to help fifty women make birdhouses.  I'm moving into room 4 at Camp Gilmont and you can find me there.


We're going to be talking about Sabbath this weekend.

I had lunch yesterday with my old friend Nancy Greenfield, who is an observant Jew.  I've known Nancy over 20 years now--I  knew her back when her kids were little and their Sabbaths were spent lounging around all day in their pajamas playing board games and just enjoying each other.  They didn't watch TV or play with their phones or electronics.  But they did play.  Play was a big part of Sabbath.  Relaxing and play are kind of what we are supposed to do on the Sabbath.  Reading books, too.  Nancy's emphasis that I've never heard anywhere else was that one of the big things on Sabbath was to refrain from creating anything.  This is where she gets the rules against cooking and working.  But it makes sense to me since that was what God was resting from on the 7th day. 

Now that her kids are grown-- one is in college out of state and one has graduated and lives in Israel--I asked her how Sabbath has changed.  She says some of the basics are the same:  they still begin Sabbath with blessing their children except they do this with phone calls now.  And lighting the candles--always the candles.  But now that the kids are grown and gone she says she and her husband "get out more" for dinner.  However, like most observant Jews, they still don't drive a car on the Sabbath.  They walk to neighbors' homes or to restaurants in the neighborhood. She doesn't cook that day because she has already prepared the food the day before. She plans ahead in order to make sure Sabbath will be a relaxing day.

I watched my friend order lunch like I have done many times before as she carefully navigates eating Kosher in a public restaurant.  It's mostly just making sure she doesn't mix dairy and meat but it does require some planning and an attentive restaurant staff. In this Greek restaurant she had to eliminate having a yogurt-based sauce served on the plate with her lamb.

Life can get complicated when you take your life and your relationship with God seriously.  This is why I like retreats.  This is why I like to take time to go off and unplug and change my pace.  The next four weekends will not be business as usual and I can't wait to see what God has in store for me.


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