This has been a long week. Lately, they all seem long.
The days push and pull at me, demanding my attention, my devotion, my energy. At the end of the day, when dark gathers in small corners and the noise of the day skitters at the edge of consciousness, I lay, exhausted but wired, willing my mind to calm, to rest, to slow down please God! let it slow down so I can sleep. But I don't. I court sleep like a coy lover. It is elusive, teasing me with a promise of rest, only to run away at the last instant, leaving me tangled in sweat-dampened sheets.
Again and again, I repeat this dance. Eventually I sleep. For a couple of hours, I am at rest. But the alarm rings too early, its shrill buzz shatters the mornings quiet. I am awake, dammit! Really. Pay no attention to the cramped fingers that scritch across the nightstand, seeking the snooze button. I am awake! Buzz, buzz, buzz, incessant and raucous and deafening. Awake, dammit, until silence. Blessed silence. I drift on a sea of in-between: not morning quite yet, but no longer night; neither asleep nor awake, but aware. I just need a few more minutes, hours, days. Please.
And suddenly, it is Shabbat. God's cosmic snooze button. Timeless and in-between, outside and seperate. Suddenly, I can breathe. I am at rest.
I love this time of year. I sit in the sanctuary on Friday night, my skin still buzzing with the noise of the week, my head in a million different places everywhere at once, and I watch the light outside the window as it ushers in Shabbat. I cannot see the sun, only its light as it changes, mellows and deepens. The wild grasses are tipped in gold and a single tree, dusty green and brown, gathers shadows under a darkening sky, a slow study in purple and grey and black. The sky goes from the pale blue of a summer day to a luminous cerulean blue.
Shabbat is here at last, the beautiful bride, dancing in from the fields just as surely as the Kabbalists rejoiced a few hundred years ago. It is a celebration, a promise in song and prayer and light. Is it the light of creation? Some have argued it is, that the light of Shabbat is so pure, so perfect, it is the rememberance of creation that shines on us for a brief time. I don't know; I would like to believe it.
My heart is not as calcified, as protected as it once was, when I was angry with God and my only prayer was a quick "screw you." I declared my disbelief in God to any who would listen, and to many who wouldn't. What I didn't share was my secret belief that it was God who didn't believe in me. It has softened, it is not quite so protected these days. God and I are pretty tight, I think. And so, with all my weary heart, I take comfort that Shabbat is a gift, a promise from God: we can rest, we can breathe. We step outside of time, to celebrate, to study, to renew, to listen, to love, to find the sacred, remember the holy.
And for this brief and timeless time, I find rest, I find God, I find peace.
- I write, mostly to keep my head from exploding. It threatens to do that a lot. My blog is the pixelated version of all the voices in my head. I tend to dive into what connects me to God, my community, my family and my doubt. I do a lot of searching, not as much finding. I’m good with that. I have learned, finally, to live comfortably in the gray. In the meantime, I wrestle with God, and my doubt and my joy.