Saturday, July 29, 2006

Restoring Balance

I have spent much of the past week feeling depressed and saddened by the situation in the Middle East. I was so distressed on Wednesday night as I sat down to meditate that I had tears in my eyes. (And those of you who know me well know that doesn’t often happen.) At one point I posted a very harsh Blog about it and then promptly deleted that post when a friend found it to be so upsetting.

Then last night as I was reading “The Sabbath”, a book by Abraham Joshua Heschel that Reya loaned me, I was surprised to find that he says it is a sin to be sad on the Sabbath. I started chewing on this little nugget of advice and decided to put my sadness away for Shabbat. We went to Friday night services, where we collectively prayed for those in Lebanon and in Israel who are so affected by the violence. I came home and slept the soundest sleep I have slept in a long time. We went out for a long bike ride this morning before the heat got cranked up. I spent the afternoon napping and rediscovering intimacy with my husband, something I had pushed aside to be so worried all week.

This 24-hour slice of time has taught me some important lessons. I am powerless to fix any of the problems in the Middle East. I can be informed and attentive and compassionate, but my depression will not make one bit of difference. Instead it is much more important that I focus on family and friends who are here in my immediate realm. Here I can make a difference for myself and for others.

The more I read of Heschel, the more I start to understand the important distinction between the day of rest and all others. By clearing out the worries of the past week for this period of time, we give ourselves permission to breathe deeply uninhibited by negative emotions. We restore an important balance to our lives that prepares us for the onslaught of the next week’s worries. But for those 24 hours we float unencumbered. Shabbat shalom...sabbath peace.


Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

What a beautiful post! See why I love my man Heschel? It blows my mind that he could write such uplifting, positive books right after the Holocaust. He was German, too. Wow. Shabbat Shalom worked well foryou this week. Excellent!

8:56 AM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

It is difficult to put down ones thoughts and concerns for a day. I agree with you & Herschel the right path to living begins with oneself.

8:50 PM  

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