Thursday, December 11, 2008

An unwanted Shabbat

I'll pass on a confession that I made to some of the people who were at least week's Shabbat study: sometimes, I really don't want to come to synagogue on Shabbat.

I doubt it came as that great of a surprise to many, although some may have not expected me to admit to this. But, last week was one of those times when I just didn't want to be here. I had had a long week - not a bad week, just long. Lots of catch up from vacation at work. Many meetings. A cat who, feeling neglected after being alone for a week, was waking me up several times a night. By the time I drove my son home from school on Friday afternoon, the thought of the oncoming Shabbat was anything but peaceful. Rather than lead services, give a sermon, come back for more study, more prayer and then more study, I just wanted to be in bed.

But, the strangest thing happened. When I got here on Friday night, I wasn't exactly thrilled, but maybe something like "content." I started seeing people who had come for services - mostly our regulars and a guest or two. Services started, and that kind of religious auto-pilot kicks in, where I don't have to do much except for pray, until it's time to talk. Basically, without me realizing it, I had gotten into Shabbat - my energy had come back, my sense of peace had come back.

The same thing the next morning - I can't say that I jumped out of bed, dying to get to synagogue as fast as possible. But, soon enough, I was engaged in good discussions in our Torah study, and wonderful service with a group of people there just to pray and explore a bit, and then some more study. Tiring, but exciting and fun, too.

It was a good reminder for me - sometimes Shabbat is work. Sometimes, I have to force myself to "do Shabbat." But, it's not work for long, because when I'm really "doing" Shabbat, then things just work - Shabbat really does become a time of rest, rejuvenation and, most importantly, holiness.

How about you - have ever come here reluctantly, only to be surprised by truly finding Shabbat?

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